There is one area of parenting in which I’ve been particularly blessed. I have never had a problem going shopping with Ayva. She’s never really gotten out of control, I’ve never had to leave a store with my head hanging in shame because she acted a fool…I’m telling you, blessed. Maybe it’s because her first shopping trip was at the tender age of 2 weeks (what? I needed something from Target!), or maybe it’s because I have a stress free shopping system that really works. Whatever it is, my 4 year old has been my favorite shopping partner since just about the time she was born.
About that stress free shopping system, it’s really simple, y’all. I’ve been following this system for the last few years, and it hasn’t failed me yet!
Ayva and I are out of the house by 8:30 AM on a normal Saturday. During the holiday season, we take advantage of the early store hours by leaving the house even earlier. You don’t have to deal with the crowds pushing carts through the aisles, or long lines. Get your shopping done early and spend the afternoon wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and dancing to Christmas music.
Pack a snack.
If you plan to be out for longer than an hour, make sure you pack a snack. Fill your little one’s water bottle up and put a bag of yummy Christmas trail mix, or a granola bar in a small backpack for them to carry. Everyone knows that the only thing worse than a sleepy kid is a hungry kid. Save some money, and your sanity, by planning ahead and packing a few snacks.
Take a break to do something fun.
Shopping might be fun for you, but for a little one, going from store to store can be boring. If you’re planning on doing a marathon day of shopping, make sure you take a break to do something that’s interesting for your child. Let them ride on the carousel in the mall, or stop at the playground on your way from one store to the next. If the store that you’re shopping in has activities for kids…let them do it! Your to-do list can wait a few minutes.
Cut it short if you have to.
You know your child. Don’t put unnecessary stress on yourself or them by trying to push through a shopping trip that is obviously over. Not sure what obvious means? If your child is falling out, throwing a tantrum, crying for no reason, pulling items off the shelves, and driving you crazy…the trip is over. Leave the store, get in your jammies, and enjoy the holiday season in the comfort of your home.
Remember the meaning of the holidays.
I know that it feels like there’s so much to do during the holidays. So many gifts to purchase, so many places to be, but remember to put your child’s needs, and your sanity, first. No one is going to judge you if you don’t get everybody a gift. Purchasing presents should not be stressful. If it gets to that point, step back, hug your little one, and remind yourself what the holidays are all about.