Christmas Nightmare: Shopping with Kids


It’s hard to play Santa when you have kids hanging from both of your arms and one of your legs.

Running into a store to pick-up a handful of necessities can be a frustrating and exhausting experience when you have young kids in tow.  However, having them tag along while you Christmas shop can be a downright nightmare.

No parent willingly chooses to purchase a long list of holiday gifts while their kids are present, but if you are working under a strict deadline and can’t find childcare, then you do what you have to do.

Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can employ if you are forced to head to the mall with your little ones this holiday season:

Lower Your Expectations:  You need to purchase Christmas presents for grandma and grandpa, plus your brother and sister-in-law.  If you were on your own, this task would maybe take 30 minutes tops.  However, if you are bringing your toddler along, be realistic about your time frame.  Don’t get upset or frustrated with your child if you don’t get out of the store under your goal time and with all of the items on your list.  Rather, by being flexible and lowering your expectations, you can preserve your sanity and make the experience as tolerable as possible.

Create a Game Plan:  Before departing for the mall, sit down with your child and devise a game plan.  Collect her favorite snacks for the trip and allow her to pick out a stuffed friend to bring along.  Next, explain who you are shopping for and what stores you will be visiting.  Also, discuss the type of behavior you expect, such as speaking with an “inside voice” and keeping her hands to herself.  By discussing your plans ahead of time your child will be aware of your expectations and hopefully comply.

Make It Fun:  Give your child a copy of your shopping list and allow her to help you track down the items featured on it.  You can even pretend you are scavenger hunters tracking down lost items in the jungle.  By keeping your kids as involved as possible, they will be too busy to act inappropriately.  Finally, offer a good behavior incentive.  Reward your child’s shopping efforts with lunch at her favorite restaurant or a small toy or coloring book at the last store.


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.