By Daddy Nickell
As a father of seven, I’ve had my fair share of holiday shopping with kids. It’s never an easy thing, but during the holidays it’s a lot more difficult. This time of year, you need to be extra careful and pay extra close attention. The stores are busy and you’re likely trying to manage extra baggage such as coats and shopping bags plus the kids.
Here are a few tips for staying safe when holiday shopping with kids and babies:
1. Use a cart or stroller whenever possible. Contained children are the easiest to manage. A stroller also gives you a place to stash your purchases.
2. Supervise bathroom visits. It’s very easy to get separated or have a stranger approach your child in a busy public bathroom.
3. Select oversized fitting rooms and bring your children inside with you.
5. Malls and parking lots are extra busy and dangerous during the holidays. Be sure to hold your child’s hand in parking lots and watch out for drivers who are not looking for pedestrians.
6. Remind your children not talk to strangers.
7. Make sure your child knows they must not act in an ill-mannered way by knocking things off the shelves or breaking anything. Also discourage them from going under the clothing racks as it’s dangerous and easy to lose them.
8. Wear your baby in a carrier, if possible, as you will be hands-free while knowing your little one is in a safe place.
9. Dress your children up in identical and easily noticeable clothing, such as tie-dye or bright colored t-shirts. In the event that your little one runs off, you will be able to show the security guards exactly what outfit he or she is wearing by referencing your other child’s outfit.
10. Put a sticker on each child’s shirt listing your name and cell phone number in the event you get separated. Have an “action plan” in place for what they are supposed to do if you get separated such as going into a store and asking a salesperson for help, finding the courtesy counter, finding a security guard, etc.).
11. Establish these rules in a quiet place ahead of time, so that your child knows what is expected of him once you’re inside the busy stores.
12. Shopping is not a lot of fun for little ones. If you’re asking for their cooperation and patience, offer up a small reward if they are good such as a hot chocolate afterwards or visiting Santa.
Good luck & happy parenting!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.