3 Ways to Not Kill Your Kids When Holiday Shopping
If you are anything like me, you are gearing up for that last-minute holiday shopping. And the fact that my children are already out of school for the holidays means my stress level has soared tenfold.
The mere thought of them tagging along during any part of my shopping ordeal makes me feel a bit tense. Dealing with them argue over who had the toy last or asking why they can’t have another toy that they already have at home is too much to deal with in a crowded Mall.In addition to taking deep breathes, threatening, and bribing my children to behave, I have, after years of experience, learned to adopt a few tricks to help my trips to the store go off without a hitch:
#3. Duck Tails.
I am not ashamed to admit that I stole this one from my youngest daughter’s daycare.
Before I venture over the threshold of any store that has aisles of goodies, I command: “Girls, put on your duck tails.” In an eager attempt to role play, my girls cross their hands behind their backs, lean forward, and walk in a line behind me. If I see my little ducks getting distracted by a glittery toy or the candy at the checkout counter only inches away from their grasp, I remind them that “Mommy duck is watching” and they usually get back in line. Most times I do promise some small token of reward for my good little duckies — a piece of gum or to watch a movie when they get home. I am definitely a briber. Hey, it beats apologizing to some clerk when your child totally embarrasses you after destroying a store display.
#2 The quiet game. Oh, how I love this one. It works best when I need my children to wait patiently in line, sit still in a restaurant, or behave during a car ride.
It is the competitive nature of my two little girls that keeps them quiet for long periods of times. The first one who makes a sound is declared “the loser.” And no child wants to be the loser. But the great thing here is that when one child loses, she keeps shouting “rematch!” which extends the game. Believe it or not my 3-year-old is always the champion. Thank you, Lord.
#1 The Talk.
This may be considered a threat, but I like to call it my “gentle reminder.”
Whenever we go to a restaurant or party, the girls and I get into a little football huddle to go over what I would consider obvious rules of conduct that nevertheless need to be restated because, well, they’re kids and they act up. “Okay, girls,” I say. “When we go into the restaurant, we sit on our bottoms. No jumping. No running. We use our inside voices. No throwing anything. Use our manners. Say thank you and please. And most importantly don’t scream, ‘I have to poop or pee at the top of your lungs.’ Just tell me you have to go to the bathroom. Okay, go team, go.” And we are off.
These rules (and a small glass of wine) have helped me stay sane this holiday season. Hopefully, they can help you, too. Cheers and happy holidays!