It’s the weekend before Christmas and you still have some shopping to do! Shopping the weekend before Christmas is a nightmare in and of itself, but if you forgot to call Wilco Nannies to get a sitter for the kids, your nightmare just got a whole lot worse! But it can be done! You can take your kids shopping during the craziest shopping time of the year, and live to tell the tale!
First battle to face when Christmas shopping with kids, is the traffic! While it’s ideal to get up first thing in the morning and hit the stores early, anyone who has had to scream “put on your shoes” 20 times knows it doesn’t always work out that way. Prepare for the day by packing snacks and drinks to keep in the car. Pack and extra pair of clothes for each child too. One spill or bathroom accident can ruin an entire day. Have the kids help you find a parking spot! Tell them to keep their eyes open and try to find the closest ones.
Before entering the store, be very clear with your kids about the rules and expectations. No touching items you don’t plan to buy. Do not leave any store without Mom or Dad. Listen to the workers inside the store, they are in charge. If you are in a large shopping mall, point out the security guards or where the customer service area is located. That way if you lose your kids in the crowds, they know who to look for. Most importantly, don’t rely on the store workers to watch your kids. It is not their job, and they won’t do it!
No matter what age your kids are, shopping is tiring and they will need breaks just like they do on a normal day. Plan a bathroom break in the morning, at lunch time, and in the afternoon. Plan a morning snack break, lunch, and afternoon snack. This will do wonders to delay a meltdown. Let’s be honest, the meltdown will happen, but we do anything we can to delay it.
Give them a Job
Kids are always much more engaged in boring errands when they get to be a part of it. Let the kids know what you are shopping for. If you are looking for a particular store, have the kids help you find it on the map. If you are looking for a specific item, ask the kids to help you find it in the store. If you are just browsing try for a game of I-Spy. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy looking at all the pretty decorations and window displays!
Don’t forget about good ol’ fashioned bribery this Holiday Season. If you have to take all the kids shopping with you, keep them focused on good behavior with the promise of a movie, playing on the playground, hot chocolate, or even a nice warm pretzel!
When They are Done
We all know that our kids have a threshold. When the threshold is reached, the witching hour begins and no amount of bribery, snacks, or threats is going to calm your child down. Most of us already know what time of day our kids begin to hate everything. If that is the case, make sure to be in the car by that time.
If you are unable to make it out of the store by the witching hour, there are a few ways you can make it out in one piece. When the meltdown begins, quickly scoop your child out of the store or to a nearby bathroom. Let the child have their meltdown. Once the initial storm has passed, explain to them why they are feeling the way they are, and give them some steps to take. For example “You are tired that is why you’re sad. We are going to pay for these items, go to the car, and go home. And then you don’t have to do anything else today.” Kids are generally able to get it together if they know they only have to hold on for a little while longer.
Taking little kids on a shopping trip is never anyone’s ideal scenario. But life happens and we have to adjust!