You’ve completed your list, done your research, completed all of your online shopping and now you’re ready to embark on your mall attack. Your trips are all penciled in your agenda and now you are ready to go.
Pick an appropriate time:
Plan the 2 hours of reckoning during a time that works well with your toddler and assures a lessened crowd in the malls. Deciding to do this during your toddler’s nap time on a Sunday afternoon is begging for a disaster. Early mornings just after your child has gotten up and eaten generally works well for most moms and young children. Try to make it to the mall just after the doors open and in the earlier part of the week (Monday to Wednesday is best). Also, if your child is particularly upset, sick or irritated that day, re-schedule.
Pack well and light:
Invest in a mommy backpack. This isn’t the time to go out in the crowds with your fully loaded diaper bag. Take your list, bottled water, wallet, 2 diapers with a small wipe clutch, one container of nibbles for the little one and the one favorite toy that can’t be left home. That’s it. Just pack what you would sparingly need for a 2 hour period. Keep your handy pack ready at all times for your 2 hour dash.
This isn’t a fashion show and you’re somewhat running a marathon today. So dress comfortably and wear flat shoes. Dress your little person in layers so that you can assure no cranky moments due to overheating.
Talk, talk and talk some more
One thing that tends to work for most mothers is talking. Talk to your toddler; tell them where you’re going, what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it. At this young and impressionable age, they just love hearing their mother’s voice. Try using large vocabulary and words that your child hasn’t heard before. When there is so much interesting information coming through mommy’s lips, there is no time to think about pulling a tantrum.
The carrot at the end of the stick
I’m not into bribes and in all honesty, bribes should not be used as a means to get things done with your child. All it does is feed the potential to a bigger problem and consistent tantrums. However, providing an incentive for your child is something that can be extremely helpful especially for those children who are very interactive. The carrot shouldn’t be an item but rather an experience that they will get to share with mom later on that day; something special like baking cookies together or taking a surprise visit to Grandmother’s house for lunch. The incentive should be presented to the child after the whole shopping experience is over and in a positive light: We had such a wonderful time shopping today, we will now go and spend some fun time with Grandma, baking cookies or whatever the incentive is. This way, the child will relate a positive outing with a positive reward and not relate to it as a bribe.
The goal with preparing yourself to holiday shop with your toddler is to get the job done with as little stress as possible. When mothers are less stressed, children are less stressed and therefore more likely to be willing participants in the whole chaotic shopping experience. With the proper planning, you can turn your holiday shopping with your little one into something fun for both of you!