By Jodie Lynn
It's that time of year again when I will be taking my kids to the mall to let them shop. However, it never fails that it will be jam-packed with people. My kids want to walk ahead of me, I guess because it's not cool to be seen with mom in tow, but it scares me. Any ideas on keeping track of them and hopefully within eyesight too?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Some of my friends have a problem with this, but it doesn't really bother me. My mom and I are pretty good buddies. In fact, I will usually try clothes on and ask her opinion. Sometimes, if we don't want to shop at the same store, we'll meet up later at a specific time and place in the mall. - Kristin Neal, Fort Wayne, IN
Regardless if they think it's not cool to be seen with parents at the mall, it's pretty much a must-do during the holidays, especially for kids younger than 14. There's just too much confusion and things going on that can easily distract them from the original goal, not to mention strangers that might be up to no good. Go to the mall or any shopping area as early as possible, when it is less crowded. Try to keep each trip within a certain amount of time. For example, break up the trips into several smaller ones as opposed to one that is five or six hours long. A couple of days before leaving the house, have them give you a list of stores that they will be shopping at. Help them map out an easy route instead of walking all over the place. This way, you will know basically where they are or at least what vicinity of the mall they will be in and everyone's time can be better organized. It would be helpful to you, as well as maybe help them to keep on track, if they are allotted a certain amount of time for the total trip. Of course, you can always have them text or call you and/or, if for whatever reason the mall is really crowded, there's a couple of phone apps that will track them for you. Don't panic if things don't go exactly according to the plan. Usually if you give them rules and expectations now, they will stick to them as they get older.
CAN YOU HELP?
My husband and I just found out we will not be in the country until a couple of weeks after the holidays. My mother is taking care of our three kids. Instead of her trying to make up for us not being with them by buying extra gifts and spending money she doesn't have, what are some top-tested and age-appropriate items we can get them after the holidays when we will be home? They are five, seven and nine years old.
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