We moved to Indiana, far away from family so when it comes time to do some holiday shopping either Casey or I have to stay home with the kids. Or we have to take the kids with us. We don’t have any family around these parts who can watch our kids while we head out on a long holiday trip.
Addie is less than stellar at holiday shopping—the kid hates going shopping. Vivi? Well, she’s practically still a baby and she’s not too fond of shopping either. We’ve learned a few tricks along the way that have helped us out despite the two little rug rats tagging along with us.
One of the most important things that we do before we head out on a big holiday shopping day is make a plan. Nothing annoys the kids more than spending time in the car that they don’t really need to spend. Planning which stores we’re going to, and in what order, allows us to keep the shortest travel distances between stores. We also plan what presents we’re looking for so we know which backup stores may have what we’re looking for as well.
The second most important thing we do before we head out is plan to stop at some kid-friendly stops along the way. A stop at Toys R’ Us so the kids can gander at the merchandise is usually a pretty safe stop. Plus, Addie gets pretty excited knowing that Toys R’ Us is only two stores away and she is more patient while we make the other stops. We also make sure to give Addie 10 minutes or so at stores that may have a toy section so she can take a look down those aisles. If time is short, one us will take the kids to the toy section while the other parent makes the necessary stops in the store.
Casey is also really good at knowing the best lunch places. Not necessarily the places with the best food, but if we’re out all day, the kids need someplace with a playground so they can stop, eat, and get their wiggles out before we head to the next store.
One of the other things we’ve found is that when we make the list of things we’re looking for, Casey divides the list according to which store the items should be found. Then at each store, Casey gives Addie the list and a pencil and Addie checks the items off the list as they wind up in our shopping cart. When Addie was younger, Casey would type the list out on a computer and she would insert pictures of the item next to its description. That way even though Addie couldn’t read, she could look at the picture and know what we were trying to spot.
On really big shopping days, Addie also gets to pick out one small item throughout the day. The item must be on sale, and it can’t be more than $10. Addie rarely makes her decision on what she wants right off the bat and instead waits until one of the last stores to make sure she has seen everything that is available.
Using these little tricks has saved us from many holiday meltdowns mid-store. What tricks do you use to keep your kids from having a meltdown in the middle of a holiday shopping trip?