Holiday shopping is stressful no matter who you are. The stores are packed with people, and most of them missed the memo about the spirit of Christmas. They’re cranky, rude, in a massive hurry, and have no problem running over small children to get that last “fad of the year” item. When you’re throwing children into this already chaotic mixture, it can put stress levels through the roof.
Don’t fear … because these tips will help you become a super- mom this holiday season. Your super power? Creating stress-free holiday cheer for everyone! Well, for your family anyway.
Avoid Taking Your Children Shopping
Yes, I know; this pretty much defeats the purpose, right? You wanted ideas to making shopping with kids easier, and here I am stating the obvious, but it’s true! Not taking kids is the best way to reduce your stress level while in a store.
Sometimes it’s impossible to find a babysitter so you can go shopping. If that’s the case, continue reading for more awesome ways to make Christmas shopping with kids more successful.
Make A Plan
Okay, so you might not want to be one of “those” people. You know the ones, the people who spread their shopping flyers across the kitchen table like war maps, planning every route and battle. Unfortunately, those people are on to something, because planning which stores to go to, and what you need at each one, can significantly reduce distractions and surprises.
Talk to Your Children Ahead of Time
Most parents already do this while sitting in the car, after you’ve finally found parking. You turn around in your seat, give your best death stare, and whisper “YOU are GOING to behave in here, RIGHT?”
While this can be effective sometimes, it’s really not the best way to go about it.
Instead, you should talk to your children, not yell or threaten. Let them know what the plan is, that behaviors will not be tolerated, the consequences for said behavior, and that you’re only going in for the things on your list.
Take Entertainment With You
The bottom line is this; stores are arranged and filled with things that are designed to catch your eye and make you want to buy their products. How do you think all of that looks to a young child? Can you blame them for wanting to touch and play with all the cool toys, or shiny decorations? Heck, most adults get sucked into these holiday traps! Having a toy or book tucked away for occasions like this can help, and phones or tablets can be useful in small doses.
Be Prepared for Defeat
There might be days when children are just not having it, and they’re entitled to bad days. If you can sense your little one is having a cranky day, or not feeling well, that wouldn’t be a good time to try Christmas shopping. If going out is unavoidable, be prepared to leave if things go sour. No one should judge you if you have to drop your basket and run, and they’ve probably been there themselves.
Give Children a Small Incentive
Having a small reward for after shopping could help make things go more smoothly for everyone. You don’t have to promise them some huge toy, but maybe they could get a candy bar when shopping is done? Knowing they’re working towards something will help them remind themselves to behave.
At the end of the day, Christmas should be a fun and magical time. Allowing it to become a stressful burden can ruin the holiday for you and your children. Don’t be a grinch! Remember to stop and look at the decorations, and allow your kids to do the same.