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Tips When Taking Children to the Mall

It’s just eight days before Christmas and malls are bursting at the seams. Holiday shoppers brave the crowd in search for the perfect Yuletide gifts and often, families go together to get each other the present of their choice. Problem is, it’s hard enough to jostle through the crowd on your own so just imagine how much more chaotic it would be when you are tagging children along.

As a mom of an almost three-year-old, I try to keep my little one safe and secure as much as I can when we’re out shopping – especially during this time of year when malls are crammed full.

I’m no security and safety expert, but the mom in me has these tips to share to make your Christmas shopping spree as stress-free as possible.

  • Before you go on that shopping trip, talk about what your child can or can’t buy and be clear and firm about it. That way, you won’t have to get down on your knees begging your kid to let go of that expensive toy or that hot little gadget.  While you’re busy bargaining with your little boss, prying eyes may be waiting for an opportune time to strike. Remember mommy, a little commotion is a big window of opportunity for criminals lurking around the corner; they might take advantage of your moment of distraction and run off with your purse.
  • Make sure your little one is well-rested and fed before you head out shopping. The last thing you want is a wailing child hankering for a cookie while you’re wading down the shopping aisles. Otherwise, bringing something your child can munch on and drink will save your sanity.
  • Dress your child comfortably – it can be quite hot when malls are jam-packed. Children and heat don’t really get along well, I tell you. Also, check for loose shoelaces and drawstrings – these can get trapped in an escalator’s moving parts and cause an accident.
  • Keep your child close at all times, never let him out of your sight. It’s always better to shop with another adult so you can take turns minding the child.
  • Educate your child on what to do in case he gets lost. Point out security guards and customer service booths so he will know where to go for help if you get separated. If you have a toddler, make sure he has identification tag in his pocket. If your child is older, make sure he knows his full name, yours or your other companions’ names, or if he’s old enough, your contact details.Find out what procedures are in place to search for a missing child.
  • Try to avoid getting inside stores that sell and display fragile items – those little hands often have a mind of their own and accidents can happen all the time. Tell your child not to touch anything, say if he touches it he has to pay for it.
  • Long queues at the counter will make your little one restless. To keep him from wandering about, keep him entertained with a toy or a book. And keep your hands locked.
  • If you’re juggling too many shopping bags, deposit them in the package counter. Always make sure you have a free hand to snatch those tiny hands in case his feet feel the itch to run off.
  • Shopping carts are eye candy to a child. Never allow your child to climb inside and go off your shopping cart attended. Better yet, don’t allow him to climb inside that thing ever. It’s unsafe – the cart might tip over, your child might fall. Don’t tempt fate.
  • While riding an escalator, hold your child’s hand and tell him to stand still and keep his feet away from the edge of the step. If your child is still a toddler, lift him on and off the step.

It sure is fun to shop with your little one in tow, but malls can be chaotic during the Christmas rush. It helps to practice caution at all times.