Shopping with Children
Shopping with children is often a challenge, especially during the holiday rush. Some tips to make the shopping trip more enjoyable/successful are:
- Plan the trip limiting the number of stores you visit to two to three.
- Limit the number of people for whom you purchase gifts to a very few and think about what you are looking for before you leave the house. Talk about gift ideas and budget with the children to eliminate inappropriate choices and prevent debates in the store.
- Shop when stores are least likely to be busy so that children are not overwhelmed by crowds. (When you are short and can see mostly knees and almost nothing on the counters, shopping is not fun.)
- Locate bathrooms BEFORE you need them.
- Shop when children are at their best: fed and rested.
- Include a light lunch or snack as part of the special time together.
- Build in time to do what the children want such as visit a special store or see Santa Claus.
Developing Family Traditions
Traditions and rituals are an important part of everyday life, but they become more apparent during the holiday season. Special foods, games, story telling, decorations, parties, visiting family, friends and neighbors, religious celebrations, giving and receiving, shopping, and many other topics come to mind when one thinks about special activities that help make the holiday special. Developing family traditions can convey a sense of belonging and security to children.
Realistic Expectations about Gifts
Children who think only about gifts can feel terribly let down when the holidays are over. Their new toys may not be all they thought they would be after they've waited for them for so long.
Talk with your children about gifts and your own sense of values about the meaning of the holidays; then plan family activities in which gifts play only one part. Plan fun things to do before and after you open gifts. That way, gifts start to take their rightful place in the whole of the holiday season. Shift the focus from receiving to giving by making special treats or doing special favors for neighbors and friends, a food pantry, or an elderly shut-in.
Best Wishes for Your Holiday Season
Families with young children must balance holiday activities while meeting the needs of their children. With advance planning, you can help your child enjoy your special family traditions and reduce holiday stress.