Were you like us last year who said that they’d be more organised next year and get the shopping done in advance but have realised that it’s only a few weeks left until Christmas and haven’t gotten any gifts yet? The internet is brilliant for shopping from the comfort of home but there will always be times when you still need to go out to the shops along with the hoards of other Christmas shoppers. Which is not too bad until you add your children into the equation! You don’t need to have to rely on screen time to help distract them whilst shopping so here are ten tips for making Christmas shopping easier with children in tow:

#1 Start out early in the day

Make use of the fact that children are early risers. There will be fewer people you’ll have to deal with, compete with and push through in the stores.

#2 Feed the children first

Make sure your little ones are fed before you go to avoid having to spend time and money queuing for food to stop the ‘hanger’.

#3 Don’t go at nap time

If you do that, you are just making your life ten times harder and the shopping trip will inevitably be unsuccessful!

#4 Have a game plan

Map out your stops. Carry your gift list with you. Have in mind what you intend to buy and where. Distraction is the key – if you can, avoid the stores or isles which you know they will love – will save you having to cope with the tears when you need to move them on to the next store.

#5 Entertain them

Pack your bag with stickers and a colouring book if they’re in the buggy. Or try out these Scavenger Hunts especially designed for shopping or Christmas!

Add to your Seekers Starter kit with these Christmas Seekers magnetic kit, an exciting hunt at Christmas and a fabulous family activity to distract the children whilst waiting for Christmas Dinner/whilst out Christmas shopping or at events in the run up to Christmas.

A simple but fun activity for younger children. They will use observation and matching skills as they hunt snowflakes, robins and Brussels sprouts

#6 Be realistic

You will not even come close to finishing off your gift list. Toddlerhood is full of nervous breakdowns — I mean surprises.

#7 Keep them informed

Children handle transitions when they know what’s happening next. Let them know what’s coming up, how long you’re going to be in the store, and what you need to look for before you leave.

#8 Think about others

It is worth bringing up the concept of buying for other people (“Do you think Alice would like these colouring books? Alice likes colouring, doesn’t she?”) whenever you’re shopping for toys. It helps sew the seeds for later in life and may distract from them wanting to fill their own toy box.

#9 Let them get involved in choosing

Get them to help choose which present to buy for others or which shops to go in first. This will help keep them focused, distracts them from whinging and makes them feel like their opinions matter.

#10 Do yourself a favour and shop online

You can still get before-Christmas delivery!

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