The following is from our sponsor, Simon Malls.

Sanity? Holiday shopping? KIDS?? We know those things don’t seem to go together, but many Simon Malls offer services and programs to streamline your shopping trip. These may include convenient baby-changing stations, rooms for nursing mothers, stroller rental, sturdy shopping bags available for purchase, free Wi-Fi, a holiday gift wrapping service, and more. Plus, find your local Simon Mall’s website for exclusive discounts at your favorite stores! And if your local Simon Mall has a Kidgits Club, call Guest Services to find out about special events for kids up to age 8.

Here are some other ways you can make your shopping experience easier for you and your kids:

  1. Pack a snack for the crew. They’re bound to get hungry before your planned stop at the food court, so make sure you have easily portable nibbles that little ones can feed themselves if they’re old enough, plus something YOU can nosh on to keep your own energy up.
  2. Prep the stroller. The under-seat basket can hold some purchases, but S-hooks or carabiner clips hooked onto the handle accommodate extra bags. Just remember that you need to balance that weight with sufficient weight in the stroller itself to avoid tipping! Another option is to rent the sturdy, shopping-bag-friendly strollers at the mall.
  3. Pack a baby carrier. This way you can pop baby right on your back or front and free up the entire stroller to tote your bags. Plus, it’s a helpful option in case baby gets overstimulated and upset in the stroller.
  4. Swap your shoulder bag for a backpack. You might not look as cool but you’ll free up your hands (and possibly your stroller) for hauling purchases.
  5. Have an impulse-purchase strategy. Decide ahead of time whether you’ll be willing to buy any items for the kids during your trip, and clearly explain these limits. For instance, looking forward to a new small book, toy, or even a lollipop -- as long as they are well-behaved -- may be a good motivator some kids.
  6. Plan on-the-go activities for older kids. This can really be anything you want, depending on how old they are. Give each child a notebook and crayon or some little stickers and have them keep track of how many of certain letters they see, or ask them to hunt for certain colors, shapes, or logos. And don’t forget to check your local mall’s website or call The Shopping Line to find out what entertainment options are available when your errands are all done! You can relax at a movie or enjoy a meal together before heading home.  

How do you make holiday shopping trips easier for your family?