Children may sulk when being dragged round the shops by their parents, but retail therapy is actually good for their brains.

The interaction between child and parent while shopping helps young people develop social skills and promotes happiness – even if a bawling toddler shows few signs of it at the time.

According to the joint study by Oxford University and the Open University, shopping trips are just as beneficial for the child’s development as painting or drawing activities.The two universities made these conclusions after studying the results of an economic survey in Germany.

This survey studied the daily routines and habits of 800 parents with two- and three-year-olds.

It recorded higher perceived levels of happiness among the children who had taken part in activities such as arts and crafts, and shopping.

Researchers Paul Anand and Laurence Roope added that the more retail therapy the toddlers were exposed to, the happier they seemed to be, and the more developed their everyday skills became.

Shopping might be beneficial because it involved changes of scenery from shop to shop, which improved the child’s motor and social skills more than a sedentary activity, the report continued.

Anand, a professor at Open University, said that during shopping trips “children are getting visual stimulation, they’ve getting out of the house and into a new environment”. – Daily Mail