For the kid who can’t keep his hands off the card-swipe machine at the grocery store: a calculator

Are those credit card swipe machines kid magnets or WHAT? Hillarie’s onto something:

My son is three and loves to "help" when I am trying to pay for the groceries. His help consists of pushing the debit/credit card machine and many times his help causes me to have to re-swipe the card, etc.

I will be getting him his own "machine" — a colorful calculator. I will keep this in my bag and anytime we check out he can add up the groceries himself and check us out. I can test this out first but I do think this will work well. At least for a while.

Related: Calculator as TV remote stand-in


  1. says

    My daughter is allowed to press the “green button” for verification of PIN transactions. This might be a euro thing, but I doubt the American system is very much different.

  2. yroc says

    our 3yr old kid is encourage to put his hands on the card-swipe machine, to learn processes and interaction… i.e. now we swipe, now we wait, now cashier asks us a question, we answer, and now you get to press the green button! (still trying to get him to understand the icon representing the orientation of the magnetic strip, and i have a hard enough time of that myself!)

  3. Bob says

    I have to laugh at this. Yesterday I popped into the grocer’s to pick up one thing and decided to forego putting my 2YO in a cart.

    We made it to the checkout where I knew I’d have to pick him up while I completed my purchase. I usually let him push a few buttons to help out but this time he went for the keypad with gusto! He practically climbed over my head to get to it! Between his wriggling and my laughing, I barely completed the sale.

    To answer you question about a calculator distracting him — similar machinations on my part have been futile. I think kids know what’s real and when you’re trying to put one over on them.

    When he tries to fling the calculator — encourage him to go for distance and tell him that spinning it might help.

  4. Shelley says

    I let my daughter “sign” her name while the cashier is processing my order and then when the order is complete it’s mommy turn to sign. She gets to play a little w/o adding any time to my check out.

  5. Cynthia says

    I let my 2.5 year old daughter help at the checkout. She hands the cashier my card, and I also let her press the green OK button during the transaction. She loves it and looks forward to this at the end of any shopping trips: “Mommy, I need to pay!”