In the Christmas frenzy of gift buying, holiday parties, and end of the year work quotas, parents groan about how to keep their children occupied over winter break. Many parents seek babysitters, daycare, and family members to watch their kiddos. But there is a way for you to complete your tasks while simultaneously offering your child emotional nourishment: Involve your child in your shopping!
At this point, you might envision your child meandering out the door of Marshalls or the Apple Storewhile you frantically scour for a must-have gift. But shopping with your child doesn't have to be a dreadful experience. The secret to enjoying -- yes, I said enjoying -- this time together is this: If your child is under age 8, put them in the shopping cart!
- TALK TO YOUR CHILD WHILE YOU ARE SHOPPING.
- GIVE HER/HIM ONE SPECIAL TOY.
- ASK HER/HIS OPINION ON THE COLOR OF AN ITEM YOU ARE CONSIDERING.
- TALK ABOUT THE TEXTURE OF THE ITEM.
- ASK YOUR CHILDTO CAREFULLY HOLD AN ITEM FOR YOU.
- Talk outloud as you debate whether one item is worth $10.00 while the other you really want is $25. ASK WHICH ITEM SHE/HE LIKES BETTER.
- HAVE YOUR CHILD PICK A GIFT FOR A NEEDY CHILD.
The whole idea is to engage your child. A child who feels her/his opinion matters, who receives eye contact and conversation with mom or dad, is more likely to be well-behaved while shopping, as well as in life in-general.
Besides teaching your child how to verbally respond to questions and how to give opinions, you are also enabling him/her to safely explore the world. As a tour guide, you can either paint the world as an exciting, lovely place, or a fearful, dark universe. It's all in your hands.
Happy Holidays to you and your family!