Parenting Tip Tuesday

6 Strategies for Holiday Shopping with Your Kids


For most of us, Christmas or Hanukkah brings additional shopping trips. Between special foods and gift giving, we end up in the stores more frequently and for longer times than our young ones are able to happily tolerate. Here are a few ideas to ease your holiday shopping.

  1. Timing is important. If your little one is happiest in the morning, maybe try to shop then. Or, some toddlers are such deep sleepers that they can take a two-hour nap in the stroller while Mom (or Dad) immerses herself in the gift list. Most toddlers and preschoolers do not tolerate long shopping days. Unless you have a shopping champ, they may be happiest with shorter shopping excursions.
  2. Pack unmessy snacks and/or water plus loveys, attaching toys, cart covers and anything else for little ones comfort.
  3. I encourage you to talk (at your child’s level) about what you will be buying while shopping. If you do not intend to buy anything for your little one, say so at the beginning and stick with it. This is important because if you change your mind, or give into whining/crying/pestering, you are reinforcing those same behaviors that I assume you don’t want. And, it is harder the next go around!
  4. Set boundaries about what is acceptable in a store. Example: “You may walk next to me alongside the cart. You may ride in the cart. You may not ride on the front of the cart while standing.” Set firm consequences for what happens if he does not respect your boundaries. Do not be afraid to leave the store if your child’s behavior is out of control. Most parents only have to do this once or twice in lifetime.
  5. Keep your children close to you.  As they get older, a good rule-of-thumb may be that they must be close enough to see your face and that you can see their face. Young ones, for theirs and other shoppers’ safety, should be even closer.
  6. It’s ok to get a babysitter. cheeky If it doesn’t put undue strain on your budget, it may just make him a little happier and free you up to power shop!