These past two weeks have been very busy for me on the home front with birthday parties to attend and gifts to buy.

CAPTION CELEBRITY MOM: Melanie Brown (MEL B) was spotted shopping for a Christmas tree with her kids-Phoenix,11, Angel,3, and Giselle, 6- in LA on December 13. Angel and her bonus sister Giselle(the daughter of Stephen Belafonte) wore matching tutu dresses for the outing.

I don’t like shopping with kids, but at the same time I can’t bring myself to shop for the children without taking them along because I feel it would be unfair to rob them of the opportunity to choose for themselves what they like. In most things I believe that  mother absolutely knows best, but choice of clothes is one area that I have accepted defeat and have come to gladly accept that my boys know better than I do and therefore give them free reign to decide on how they want to look and simply assist where they need me to.
This is after I have watched them over the years save me money by choosing cheaper stuff over what I would have chosen for them simply because the latter had some popular kids brand like Ben 10 and Spiderman on them, while my more expensive choice didn’t.

As I trudged from shop to shop looking for presents for the children’s friends and witnessed flustered parents, mostly moms but also an odd dad dealing with temper tantrums here and there, I felt relieved that I wasn’t the only parent  being put through the torture of going from shop to shop with little ones who seem to thrive on pushing the limits.

I even had a proud mommy moment when I got a complement for well behaved kids from ‘Sweets from Heaven’ employees who thought my two boys were such a breath of fresh air after they were verbally abused by boys of the same age(about five or six) who threatened to open their pants zips and f*&*ck one of the girls.

And to make matters worse they said it in Setswana(the swear word seems to  even more obscene in vernacular for some reason) and they said it in front of their mom and dad.The whole thing was just too embarrassing for everybody in the shop, but what was even more sad about it is the way the parents were divided in their reaction towards the children ‘s behaviour.

Poor mom apologised for her children’s foul mouths only for her to be put down by her husband who felt there was nothing to apologise for and wasn’t shy to  let the offended shop assistant know what he thought of the low lives like her.
Anyway, child discipline is a topic for another day. What I want to do today is to simply bring you tips on how to shop with your children because as any parent would agree,shopping with a child can be a real challenge.

And considering that for many parents money is too precious these days for one to get home and find that a poor purchasing decision has been made for the sake of ending a painful shopping excursion, here are some basic shopping guidelines to help you get through the festive season without losing your mind.

1. Agree  with the children where you will be going to and what you will be looking for before you set off.

2. Be alert to their needs: Are they tired, hungry, overexcited by the noise and confusion, or simply in need of fresh air and exercise, or a
 reassuring hug?

3. Remember that children are naturally curious: Children are naturally curious; this is how they learn about the world around them. If they want to examine an attractive item, please don’t scold them. Assist them to do so without breaking it, even if you are not to buy it

4 Being surrounded by a crowd of adults can be intimidating to small children, especially when stores are busy, so if you can avoid the crowds by shopping in the morning or early afternoon on weekdays when we can avoid the stress of crowded stores and long pay point lines, we can have more energy and creativity for responding to our child’s needs.

5. When you need to say “no”do so nicely but calmly and firmly
6. If your children reach their limit: if they have simply reached the end of their ability to handle any more errands, please respect that. Shopping can wait; an exhausted, hungry, or overly-excited child cannot.

Enjoy your Christmas shopping and send me comments and questions at [email protected]

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