Friday 16 December 2011

Christmas Shopping with a Toddler and How to Survive It

With money being tight, I knew I'd have to wait til this Friday to do the last of the Christmas shopping, gifts for my Mother in Law and two nieces. I thought it would be quite straightforward as Joseph was meant to be in pre-school. Unfortunately they decided to close for today, so I had no option but to take Joseph. I would normally resort to on line shopping, but with us leaving for Germany mid week I didn't there'd be time.

I was very much dreading taking Joseph and thought it would be a nightmare, so here are my tips!

1. Plan in advance where you want to go, and have an idea of what you want to buy.
2. Try and pick somewhere not too far from home, we are fortunate that our town has had a huge spurt of regeneration and has some great shops.
3. Explain a few days in advance to your toddler what you are going to do. I find Joseph's understanding is a lot better than his speech. I showed him pictures of Grandma, Ella and Livi, and explained we were going shopping for their presents.
4. Choose a quiet time of day and the best time for your toddler. Like me, Joseph is a morning person, and fortunately the shops are at the quietest.
5. Stay focussed on the task at hand, but prepared for little toddler breaks.
6. Rewards! This morning Joseph was excellent in the first two shops, and we got half the presents done, so we stopped for a gingerbread snowman, Joseph's treat of choice.
7. Review, outline what you have done and what you still have left to do, its helpful for both of you!
8. Have a treat at the end. We went to the quietest coffee shop in town for a coffee and bagel, and an apple juice and sandwich.
9. If you are on public transport try and synch your times, we have only have one bus an hour now, but we managed to get done and dusted in two hours, with a snowman and lunch stop!
10. Work within your child's limits. I know that for 2 hours, I need a pram for Joseph, it's also handy to put stuff in, now is not the time for heroics.
11. Round off the trip with lots and lots of praise, Joseph now loves being told he's done an excellent job and I am proud of him.

And so it is all done, presents bought, now just for the endless wrapping! Now that, I am not attempting with a toddler!

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