If you have kids, you know that you’ll do just about anything to avoid taking them to a store. It’s simply easier not to. Sometimes we have no choice, however.
If you’re lucky enough to find some shopping time along and are hunting for kids’ presents, check out our list of the best gifts for kids this year! (Hint: There’s some awesome Star Wars and Frozen toys on the list!)
On those days, like around the holiday season when we’re all in and out of stores at any time of the day, we can make our lives easier by preparing ahead of time for the experience. Here are some tips I use as a single mom with three girls to survive holiday shopping with kids!
Are you looking for a fun holiday craft to help your child show thanks? Try one of these 15 thankful crafts!
Tip #1: Plan ahead
Lists are king for me! Yes, I admit it, I’ve made them and left them on the kitchen counter but on the days I actually remember to take them with me to the store, my life is so much easier.
If I have multiple stops I break the list down in order of when I’ll visit each store. (Be sure to list the grocery store last so cold food doesn’t spoil!)
With kids, the more organized you are, the better. In addition, if they ask for something I can say, “If it’s not on the list, we don’t get it!”
Need more time savvy shopping tips? Check out these 4 tips that can make the hectic time less stressful!
Tip #2: Give them a chore
Commander of the list is a huge deal in my house. One of my kids cannot read all that well yet, so I give her the job of pointing out what her sister reads from the list. One gets to put things in the cart, and when we’re done they all get to help me unload.
When it comes to gifts, when I’m not sure what to get someone we play the “look for” game. “Look for something red and green that’s in the sweater section!” They love it, and though it can get loud sometimes, it keeps the “I wants” at bay since they’re busy thinking of something else.
Tip #3: Don’t shop at meal or nap time
I learned this the hard way. When my girls were infants, I could strap them in the seat of the cart and shop while they napped. When they got older, however, if I shopped during naptime and woke them, it was a mess! The same went for meal time.
My kids are angels — most of the time — unless they’re hungry or tired. So I try to shop after meals to prevent the hunger meltdown that can lead to total chaos in an instant!
Tip #4: Limit the time in the store
It may seem tempting to take the kids to the mall and spend all day there. Truth be told, you may be setting yourself up for some attitude later. Even at the grocery store, I use the one-hour rule. That includes the drive there and the drive back. (Hence the importance of a list!)
If I need to go to a place where more time is needed, I plan out snack time and a little play time to interrupt the constant shopping. I love outlet malls for this because it forces the kids outside between shops, which seems to energize them more than indoor malls.
Tip #5: Breathe!
You’ve done everything you know how to do, and still your child is having an epic meltdown in the middle of the store.
Truth is, most people in the store have been there, too, and sympathize. If you happen upon someone who judges, so be it. Shopping with kids is hit and miss no matter how many things you do to make it easier.
So if and when that tantrum happens — because every mom has a story! — just breathe, ignore the crowd, and try to calm your child — even if it means leaving the store and coming back later. Just breathe and do the best you can. This, too, shall pass.