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Black Friday has always been a tradition for me. Growing up, my family would always visit my grandpa for Thanksgiving, and then hit the mall the day after for some Black Friday shopping. After I was married, I made sure to continue the tradition with my husband’s family. Last year was the first year I went with my son, so it was a little bit different! This year, I am taking my now-20-month-old and my 2-month-old with me, so I definitely need a plan. I sat down and made a list of tips to make it easy, and today I’m sharing them with you!
1. Plan out your trip. Shopping with a toddler definitely has a timer. As much as you would like, your toddler is not going to survive an all-day shopping trip. So plan out where you want to go, and what you want to buy, BEFORE you go! Most stores put out Black Friday ads either in their store or online, and these are a huge help when you have to take your toddler out. You can get in, get what you want, and get out, hopefully before any meltdowns!
2. Go right after your toddler wakes up, or make them nap before you go. There is nothing worse than a grumpy, tired toddler. You won’t get all of your shopping done if your toddler isn’t well-energized!
3. Put them in something comfy. If you are going early in the morning, keep them in their PJs! If you are going a bit later in the day, make sure their outfit is something they are going to be fine wearing.
4. Check diapers before leaving! Or if your toddler is potty-trained, make sure they go to the bathroom before you go. And even then, make sure you know where the bathrooms are in the stores you will be visiting. You don’t want to end up wasting thirty minutes trying to find the bathroom!
5. Utilize carts or use your stroller. Sure, my son can walk, but I am definitely not letting him run free on Black Friday. He will definitely be buckled in the cart or our stroller the whole time!
6. Bring something to keep their attention. Make sure you pack some toys and some extra snacks. I always have to have at least three different snacks and Little J’s water or he will whine when we go shopping. He gets picky about his snacks, so I always make sure to have backups!
7. Let them hold things. If you are going to get serious and make this Black Friday shopping a tradition, letting your toddler hold things will get them excited about it and help distract them.
8. Let them pick out a treat for the end of the day. Or if you have something in mind, pick it out yourself and let them hold it! The key here is letting them know that if they are good, they will get a treat when you are all done. I picked out some HÄAGEN-DAZS® Caramel Vanilla Pizelle Gelato Bars at Walmart and told Little J he could have them at the end of our shopping trip. He was so excited, he tried to open them right there in the frozen treats aisle! Which honestly, I don’t blame him! Caramel, vanilla, and ice cream all in one handy bar? I wanted one as soon as I grabbed them, too!
9. Go with another person. Last year I went with my son, my friend, and her daughter, and it was great that our kids could distract each other. It definitely helped that it wasn’t just me trying to keep Little J occupied while shopping. Plus, sometimes toddlers are better behaved when there are other people around!
10. Have a backup plan for meltdowns. We rarely let Little J play with our electronic devices, so it keeps him busy when he is allowed to. So stash something secret in your bag before you leave for the “just-in-case” moment that hopefully won’t happen. If you need it, you will be glad that it is there.
11. Reward your toddler (and yourself) when you finish! At the end of your big Black Friday shopping trip, make sure you treat your toddler to that special thing they picked out. Little J absolutely LOVED them (and I did, too!). Who wouldn’t love creamy vanilla gelato with two golden caramel ribbons, fully dipped in milk chocolate & crunchy Italian-style pizelle cookie pieces. Seriously. And since they came in a three pack, we even let the Mister have one, too! It was a #Feast4All!
I’m sure that with these tips, Black Friday will be a success this year, even with Little J in tow! And even if it isn’t, at least we get to have a sweet treat with our HÄAGEN-DAZS® Caramel Vanilla Pizelle Gelato Bars when we are finished!