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Kids Trailing Behind Parents at Mall

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?


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.

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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.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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