How Much Do You Love Holiday Shopping With Kids?

complex developmental trauma holiday shopping tips the peaceful way holidays Nov 23, 2023
LIttle Girl Holiday Shopper

It is that time again.  Five minutes following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) there is Black Friday, followed by Shop Local Saturday, and thank goodness for Cyber Monday. Still, there is the ordinary gift finding activities during these festive days and shopping seems part of the holiday "to do's" for most of us.

Because of that, we parents with young neurotypical children as well as neurodiverse children have our fair share of extra meltdowns, tantrums, and collapses into puddles of tears to contend with (and some of these are from us adults).
First of all, rest assured, some children are simply not ready for shopping in stores during the holidays.  It is all too much and they are not able to manage the stimulation.  So, spare them and shop alone or online.  Seriously, the spoils are not worth being crestfallen over holiday shopping gone wrong.

If you think your kids are ready to give it a go, then here are a few reminders and tips to make it easier for all involved.


1. Hungry, tired, and overwhelmed children are not happy shoppers.
2. Take earbuds or noise cancelling headphones with you everywhere (for them, not you this time).
3. When kids can't decide on what gift to buy for someone, simply put it in the cart for thinking on until the check out line when a quick decision at the last minute can be made. Boom, done.
4. Never feel bad about abandoning a cart you have items in for the privacy of your car.  It's not worth continuing miserably until a mad meltdown makes you abandon it anyway.
5. Give control to your child by letting them walk next to the basket with one hand on it at all times.  If they can't do that, then they are not ready to go shopping.
6.You are there to buy gifts for others only.  Never promise a present at the end if the kids are "good." Define good (don't, because you can't do it justice or be exact enough to win).  And once your child has been "not good" there is the realization that there will not be a present at the end--shopping over right there.    Instead, after they get through it, surprise reward with a drive through drink or pack of M&M's in the car.
7. Hungry, tired, and overwhelmed parents are not happy shoppers either. Rest up and eat before you go and be realistic about what you can accomplish with children in tow. One more store is often one store too many. I promise you will be better for it.
Happy Holiday Shopping!

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