Shopping With Children Dear Santa,

How do I survive shopping with a two-year-old? She believes you put presents under our Christmas tree, but you know that I am really one of your elves–scouring stores and checking off lists to make sure we have a very merry morning on the 25th. That’s how I spent this past weekend. My daughter and I navigated our way through a snow storm, traffic jam and packed parking lot to get to the mall. We were on a mission. A mission I usually embark on by myself, unless there is a shopping cart to control Caitlynn in the store. But this day, I took my mini me along. I also took a plan. Here’s how you too can survive shopping with a toddler.


Get a Balloon

Our first stop is usually RUUM American Kids Wear. The store always has a sale (you get 15% off just by signing up for their e-newsletter!), and the associate always has a balloon. Instead of complaining and asking to go home, Caitlynn  plays with her prize while I search the racks.

Model Clothes

Involve Your Child

I let Caitlynn pick out her own clothes-this dress is $17.50, and some tees are only $4!  bucks! Of course, I steer her to things I want to buy. I show her two shirts, and she selects her favorite color. Or I ask her if she likes how an outfit looks or feels. She becomes engaged in the process and even enjoys modeling  for mommy. She’s a natural! She put her hands on her hip for the first time, and I didn’t even tell her to do so.

Crayon Station

Take a Time Out

Remember, kids can’t concentrate on shopping as long as adults can. Trying on clothes or standing still can be frustrating. It’s important to take a time out. At RUUM, kids can color pictures of dogs, bunnies or geometric patterns. After they finish, they can hang their work for everyone to see. Perhaps stop for an ice cream cone or run around at an indoor playground at the mall.


Treat Yourself

Like American Express, I don’t leave home without candy in my purse. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I use sugar to bribe my daughter. RUUM treats her as well. She pressed her tiny face against the glass of the candy bar and picked out of piece. She even said thank you without me reminding her! The experience reminded me of when I shopped with my mom and received pretzel rods at a local children’s boutique.

Santa Visit

See Santa

Since Caitlynn was such a nice little girl in the store, I promised her that she could go and see Santa. While in line, another little girl admired her balloon and asked to play with it. I think Caitlynn got the concept of naughty and nice, because she told the girl she could have the balloon! Then, she told Santa that she wanted pots and pans for her kid kitchen. Why? Because mommy doesn’t have any, and mommy doesn’t cook.

Hey DFTM Fam–Do you take your children along when you go shopping? How do you keep kids under control and entertained at the mall? 

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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