You have to get up at the crack of dawn, or earlier, to hit the sales after Thanksgiving. But what are you going to do with your little ones?

  1. Leave your children at home. Hopefully, you have grandparents at home or your spouse can watch the kiddos while you go shop. If not, just sleep in and miss the rush. It’s not good for your kids to stay up late  or wake up at 5 a.m. You may have to spend some extra money, but it’s worth it to your children.
  2. Get on the Internet. This may be the best option if you have to make the sales. Many stores offer online options. You may still have to wake up early, but you can shop in your PJs and let your family sleep off the turkey.
  3. Don’t skip out on the meals or the entertainment. Ok, you’ve decided to take the plunge but you are going to miss the early, early morning sales. Make sure you get a good breakfast for you and your younger shoppers. Also, bring some snacks and something to drink. Your kids won’t have the same stamina or the desire to make this pilgrimage. Be sure to pack supplies, including something to entertain your kids like movies, videos, books or games. Give them something to do while in the cart with you.
  4. Have a plan. You know your child better than anyone. If you know there’s no way they are going to make it more than a couple of hours, only go out for a couple of hours. Map out all the stores you have to hit and then if you have some time, have a backup plan. But don’t go longer than your child can handle. If your kids throw a temper tantrum in the middle of aisle nine, you may be the one to blame, not them.
  5. Lay the ground rules. Tell your kids the plan for the morning. We are going here, here and here. We’re not buying any toys for today. At least not for your children. Maybe try to encourage charitable giving by having them pick out an item to donate to their school, church or family in need. That might keep them more engaged in the shopping process (at least for a little while). Schedule lunch at a certain time and stick to it. Bonus tip: After a day of shopping, maybe let the kiddos choose where you’re eating. The plan is not only for the children, but for you too. It will keep you on schedule and may even save you some money.

Happy holidays and happy shopping.