Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means we are about to kick off some of the biggest shopping days of the year. Before you load the kids up in the car to take advantage of those Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and other holiday shopping deals, check out our tips for making shopping with your kids a little easier.
Timing is key
You know holiday shopping at certain times of the day are guaranteed to have larger crowds, but you should also consider your child’s schedule. Will you be out over lunch or nap time? Pushing your kids beyond their normal limits can result in meltdowns and additional stress for you. Try to go well before or after nap time to reduce crankiness.
Let them help
As you shop for the perfect holiday gifts, ask the kids for input on what someone would like or let them pick out an item themselves. It will keep them involved and really enhance the gift-giving experience when they can tell their loved ones they picked out those items just for them. Bonus points if they can wrap it themselves or make a special card to go with it.
Walking around a store is a great time to play games with your kids. This will keep them engaged and reduce the likelihood they get bored or wander off. Play “I Spy,” ask them to describe what they see around them or play rhyming games to make the experience more fun for everyone.
Know the store
Being aware of the layout of each store or mall you visit will allow your trip to take less time. Make sure you know where key things, such as restrooms, are so you don’t have to frantically search for them when you need them.
When shopping, it can be easy to focus on getting what you came for and heading home. This can be taxing on kids who want to do something more fun than going up and down the aisles.
Some stores or malls have play areas where the kids can play and parents can take a break during a day of shopping. We do this in a lot of our stores. Our Valley View location, for example, has a wonderful carousel that is perfect for giving the kids a few minutes of fun before getting back to shopping.
If the stores you are in don’t have dedicated play areas, you can try a stroll through the book section and have the kids flip through a book or two before returning to the shopping part of your trip.
Attitude is everything
If your kids start melting down or throwing tantrums, it can be easy to get caught up in it yourself, especially with people watching you. If you feel yourself reaching your limit or your kid reaching theirs, try to stay calm and show positive ways of handling frustration or anger. Kids pick up on the feelings of the people around them and, if you can remain calm and positive, you are more likely to diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand. Taking breaks for something fun can really help with this.
Holiday shopping with your kids can be a stressful experience when you put together large crowds and possibly cranky kids, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Utilizing the tips above, you can have shopping trips that have fewer tears and are fun for everyone.