It’s sale season! My favorite time of the year to hit the stores and stock up with some great buys for the whole family (especially Mom!).
Now I’m the first to admit that children and shopping work together about as well as oil and water, but if the circumstances dictate that you must take them to that unmissable-department-store-sale to get that pair of jeans you’ve been lusting for (now half price!), there are some things you can do to avoid meltdown and hopefully snag a few good purchases as well.
Read on, shoppers:
1. Set The Ground Rules – Ahead of time, it’s important to lay down the law. Tell them where you are going, what the plan is and what you intend to buy. Keep it simple and tell them how you expect them to behave. For example: no asking to buy things (gimmies), no fighting and no whining. If they stick to the rules, at the end of the trip they will get a small toy at the toy department, or perhaps an ice cream. If not, it’s straight home and no television all afternoon.
2. Be Prepared – Bring distractions like a portable toy, snacks and water. An extra change of clothes, baby wipes and tissues are essential too.
3. Have a Plan – Depending on the ages and number of children accompanying you ( I can handle my 6, 3 year old or baby alone no problem, together it’s a bit of a nightmare, so I solicit help from a shopping partner like my sister, Mom), it’s important to have a plan – meaning an objective on what you need to purchase. This is not the time for leisurely browsing through the sale bins (I wish!). So for instance, I make a list ahead of time: jeans for Nat, socks for Wills, pajamas for Ollie, birthday present for Dad, white shirt for me and so on. This way you won’t waste unnecessary time, which means less chance of a meltdown.
4. Be Early – Avoid afternoon crowds and weekends like you would the plague. Whether or not I’m shopping with my little ones, I like to be there at opening time if possible. No crowds, fresh (and patient) salespeople, and if at a sale, first pick.
5. Take A Pit Stop (or two) – If the shopping trip involves multiple stops or a large venue (like a big department store or mall), stop once or twice to give the kids a breather. I like to take my kids to either a coffee shop for snacks, a playground (many malls have this) or a craft area. Some of these craft/play areas also let you leave your kids there for a fee – just make sure the place is secure, there is ample adult supervision, and that they can easily reach you in case of emergency.
6. Get them Involved – Older kids can read the list and help you find the items, smaller ones can help put items in the cart or counter. Either way, letting them feel like they’re a a part of it makes the experience fun.
Photo via theburied.life