While the threat of infection and becoming ill is something Americans have to face right now, the real challenges to our daily lives are in social distancing, staying home, not being able to go to work, and children being left with no school and social life. That’s a lot to deal with all at once. First and foremost, to make the most of work from home situations and isolation, parents need support making sure their children are engaged in activities.
Rising to the occasion pretty quickly we have seen museums, zoos, music teachers, fitness instructors and more offer up activities and lessons by way of Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and social media platforms. Supermarkets are in a position to offer and connect with their community in a variety of ways, but for starters, kids across the country are in desperate need of things to do. So here are some ideas on how as a food business, you can help your customers with kids:
1. Story time - Reading to children is an age old way and easy way to engage. And this is a way many of your employees on any level can get involved. Everyone from managers to cashiers can do this! There are so many food-focused books out there. Here is one example of a good list. https://www.weareteachers.com/best-food-books-for-kids/s
2. Cooking demonstrations. Numerous studies have been telling us for years that kids that get involved in food preparation, tend to eat healthier. While cooking can not only expose them to different types of foods, there’s a confidence that comes with eating something that they helped prepare. Now is a great time to get your grocerant chef involved, or partner with a local restaurant chef, or your store dietitian to host cooking lesson videos for kids. Keep ingredients simple and alert parents in advance, so they can have kids prepared. Also, here’s a great guide from the Center of Nutrition studies on what approach can be taken with different age groups starting as young as three years old. https://nutritionstudies.org/cooking-at-every-age-why-kids-should-learn-to-cook/
3. How about career day in the food industry? This can be especially great for older kids. Host a series of Facebook or IGTV interviews with different people working in the food industry. You can feature your store’s dietitian, store manager, food buyers, your grocerant chef, and even reach out to entrepreneurs that have created their own food product, or food writers, food photographers, local farmers, people who run food banks and more. Technology and social media platforms afford us the opportunity to conduct these interviews while still respecting social distancing recommendations.
4. Math games at the grocery store. The shopping experience has always provided a great place for kids to learn real world math. Have a store representative with a fun personality offer up math games such as offering up problems like if bananas cost $0.49 per pound, and you buy two pounds, how much will it cost? Or how about give them a list of items with prices to choose from, and then give them an amount of money they can spend. Ask them to share what they would buy. You can do this via social media. Facebook live is a perfect, easy platform for comments and interaction.
5. How about art time? Food has always been the subject of still life drawing and painting lessons. Reach out to your local art supply stores or frame shops where they often have drawing and painting instructors and partner with them to offer online lessons.
6. The food world can also provide helpful ways for parents to talk to kids about coronavirus in ways that aren’t scary, but teach the importance of hand washing and also educate kids on things they don’t have to worry about. See below this great tip sheet by wired.com on how to talk with kids in different age groups about the virus.
We hope any of our stores of food makers out their hosting online activities will share them with us, so we can share with our readers. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will promote on our social media sites. We're all in this together!