1. child shoppingAs much as I love to shop on-line, I prefer to tackle the masses during Christmas and head to the malls and store. My question is, “How can I shop with two little ones (ages two and four) and remain sane?” I will have to take them with me but really want to give it a try.

 

Holiday shopping is possible with young children. It just takes a bit of planning and a careful eye.

I remember the time I lost my three-year-old in a clothing rack. I started to panic and then realized he thought the store was a great place for hide and seek. Lesson learned—explain the rules ahead of time! Before you leave the house, talk about what you are going to do and what is expected of them.I would include a small reward for following directions to be established before you leave. It can be something simple like playing on a playground, listening to a CD in the car, playing a game when you return home, etc.

Remember that shopping for grown-up presents is boring for kids so keep your trips short. You may have to make multiple trips rather than knock it all out in a day. Also remember to feed your kids before you leave home. Food does wonders to cure irritability! Take plenty of snacks and drinks with you because tiny tummies empty quickly. You can take a break, grab a table or sitting space and refresh! Add a small toy or pop up book to your bag in order to divert their interest while roaming the stores.

In terms of security, I’m not big on the leash idea but you need to have some way of keeping those little ones close to your side—whether that’s putting them in a cart, holding hands, shopping with a friend, etc. When you get to your shopping destination, don’t wander. Know where you need to go and which gifts you are purchasing. You might want to research your purchases on-line before you head out to stores in order to have a better idea of best price and availability.

When you shop, buy a gift that involves the children. For example, let them help with buying a toy for a relative or toy for the family pet. Periodically, remind the children of the small reward that will come at the end. Finally, pay attention to their mood. When it starts to deteriorate, it’s time to go home. Head for the car and pat yourself on the back!

Now, get out there!

 

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