Kids - the cutest beings on earth (along with puppies!) but at times, they can really get onto your last nerve. No offence, I love them - not when they’re on a tantrum fest. I don’t have any kid yet, but I do get my share of kiddie experience when out, especially, at the mall and definitely while traveling. And toddlers are a handful. They rarely sit still, even when in a shopping cart. The tantrum is nothing but a kid’s ruse to get what s/he wants, “Right Now!”
In an adult’s mind, it’s a sheer power struggle. And it becomes a battleground during the Holidays - when expectations of getting his/her favorite toy for Christmas, sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall, reaching the candies, cookies and being on a perpetual sugar rush - is super high. Holiday shopping for toddlers is a daunting task. And if you tag along your bundle of joy then gear-up to tear-up :)
We love children (and puppies!) but the love takes a beatdown, when they become borderline mischievous. So, here’s a list of 10 Do’s and Don’ts when going for Holiday Shopping for toddlers.
Holiday Shopping For Toddlers: Top 10 Do's and Don'ts
The Big Holiday Shopping Plan with your li’l one
Holiday shopping calls for packing a whole lot of energy drink. It’s crowded everywhere, there’s lot of noise, ads, rush and not to forget - obnoxious shoppers :P If you’re planning to take your toddler for holiday shopping, create a definite plan first. And the plan is just not for the shopping part but also preparing stuff before heading out. Schedule the exact time to visit the stores, feed the child, you don’t want a HANGRY kid to spoil your holiday spirit, right? If you’re going along with other family members, give each a babysitting task. Take turns in supervising the kids. This way, you will not feel burdened.
Get there first
The shopping malls and stores get super busy during the holidays. And handling a kid while rummaging through the essentials becomes chaotic. The best thing to do: hit the mall or store at early hours. This way, you can avoid the crowd, snarky looks from strangers when your kid throws fit and simply buy the enlisted stuff, check out and leave ASAP! Save many hours which you can make full use of decorating, cooking, baking or even wrapping the Christmas gifts.
Alice / Alan in Wonderland
A child, especially a toddler is super explorative. And when the malls and stores are all decked up to the max with Holiday goodies, they’re bound to wander off.
What to do to prevent kids getting lost or separated?
- Give your kid something to hold or play with, like a toy, book, etc. It will keep your child engrossed and occupied.
- Always make it a point to teach children the basic contact details, in case of emergencies. If you have a toddler or if your kid is unable to recollect the digits, place a note with the details pinned within his / her clothes / pendant / pockets / kerchief.
- Right before you enter a store or mall (especially if it is expansive), teach your child a few tactics - like, meet at a specific spot, if s/he happens to wander off, reach out the mall officials / security / anyone in uniform.
I remember freaking out at the sheer idea of jumping on the escalator as a kid. “What if I fall?” “Will it gulp me?” “Oh, no, where is it taking me?” “Arrgghhhh!” And that’s exactly how I felt every time using the escalator back in the days. It’s normal for kids to get scared of escalators. In fact, escalators cause major accidents and injuries to kids every year.
- Hold your kid’s hand firmly while using the escalator.
- Do not allow him / her to use it without your / adult supervision.
- Carry your toddler instead.
- Use the escalator with precaution if you have a stroller. Call for mall assistance or help.
- And if you have more than one kid to manage, take the elevator.
Buy your toddler’s gift first
Kid’s are hyperactive and have a short attention span. Believe me the sight and sound of a kid screaming, shrieking, rolling on the floor, running from one aisle to another, dropping stuffs around - is horrid. It kills the peace and holiday spirits of fellow shoppers. So, be a little selfless, and get the first that will keep your child engrossed and out of the HULK MODE (I love the Hulk btw, and how he goes “bang bang, smash smash. But that’s onscreen. Don’t want to experience it first hand!)
Shopping Cart Rollercoaster Ride
Oh, how I wish someone could stroll me around the mall during the Holidays, where I can buy exactly what I want and get it instantly. Oh, wait, I can experience it - ONLINE SHOPPING! Anyways, before I go off-track (Kinda feel like a toddler myself now :) Let’s jump onto the next point.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics - 21000 kids meet with shopping cart related accidents every year. So, parents have to be uber careful while placing their toddlers in one of the carts. It might sound easy and convenient but not without proper adult supervision.
- Make sure to choose a cart that does not have wobbly wheels.
- Test the car first by walking a few distance and then place the child in it.
- Choose a kid-friendly, customized cart. Ask the mall attendants for help.
- Do not place your child in the basket. There’s a high risk of tripping and falling.
- Keep close attention to the cart, housed with your kid.
Holiday shopping with toddlers / kids is a daunting task. And I cannot blame a child throwing tantrums, if you spend hours and hours, hop-skip-and-jumping from one store to another. The patience level of a child is zero. So, if you’re shopping with your kid this holiday, keep the trip short and sweet. The best thing to do is shop for a few hours within a specific number of days. That way, you can get everything on your list, without having to experience a freak-of-a-screaming kid!
Avoid a “Baby’s Day Out”
Baby’s Day Out is one of my favorite movies. So, if you’re thinking your kid will manage weird circumstances just like the “baby”, you’re so wrong. Because that’s a “Robotic Baby, People! Not a real one! Hell, you need to take all precautionary methods to keep your child safe and sound, while shopping for the holidays - or for that matter - any freaking day!
- If a mall has a playpen, then don’t simply dump your child there, while you go rummaging through your must-have dress or shoes! That’s immature, stupid and super dangerous for your kid.
- Don’t just randomly ask a stranger to keep an eye on your child or his/her stroller, even if that stranger is nothing but a ninety-year old granny. That’s again immature, stupid and uber dangerous.
- Don’t leave your child at a restaurant or cafe with his / her favorite slurpee, ice-cream or chicken nugget. Predators are camouflaged everywhere!
Make a Kid’s List
Get your kids to work. How? In a fun way, draw a list of item that your little one can help find it. It’s a super interactive method for kids to have fun and learn. Also, the process also teaches children to become responsible, sensible and helpful.
Gear Up For Breakdowns
At some point or other, a kid will cry. No matter how much planning and processing you do. However, you need to draw a line. Here. Take a lesson or two, from this awesome dad: