10 ways to survive Black Friday with a toddler

You open your email. You surf the web. You turn on the TV. You open a magazine. You hop on Facebook. Everywhere you turn, there they are.


Of course I’m talking about ads for Black Friday, which every shopaholic knows is the single most important shopping day of the year. There is just one problem…you’re a mom. And that means you may be doing Black Friday this year with a toddler in tow.

I’m not going to tell you to skip Black Friday or shop online or some other nonsense. Instead, I’m actually going to give you some helpful advice for surviving Black Friday, from one shopaholic to another.

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1. Plan ahead. Don’t succumb to the Thanksgiving “Oh, just let her stay up a little late” grandparent campaign. Put your wee one to bed on time, and keep your regular sleep schedule.

2. Share your game plan with your kid and hide your anxiety. That’s right. Take those fears of a mid-line poo blowout or the worst tantrum ever and shove them down. Make Friday sound like an exciting adventure. (Throw out words like “map” and “backpack” like Dora. Trust me. It works.)

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3. Bust those doorbusters. Don’t wake your kid up at 3 a.m. to hit the earliest sales. Even shopaholics have to have limits when they’re mama shopaholics. Wake your kid up at normal time, feed her a normal breakfast (or a special one to commemorate the adventure), and then start your shopping.

4. Build in incentives. Have you ever gone shopping with a friend when you had ZERO money to spend and nothing to window shop for? It sucks. Treat your kid to a couple of fun kid stores. Tell her it’s to help her make her list for Santa or to give you ideas for Hanukkah. If you can swing it, let her choose one thing to buy as a treat for the day. Or let her choose her favorite restaurant and take a break mid-trip to spend some QT together.

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5. Come bearing snacks. And drinks. And diapers. And wipes. Be prepared for the worst… You just never know how long the Black Friday food lines will be, and you don’t want to be caught mid-line without a snack when hunger strikes.

6. Be choosy about the toys. Bring stroller-friendly toys (yes, did I mention you HAVE to bring a good stroller?) like a reusable sticker play set, a couple of dolls or action figures, or small cars.

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7. Resort to your last resort. You know that thing you don’t usually let your child do/have (ahem, iPad)? Bring it along, and keep it a secret until you’re feeling desperate.

8. Know how to handle the tantrum when it happens. Note that I’m saying when, not if. If you’re thinking, “If I knew how to handle it, I wouldn’t be worried enough to read this blog!” then check out some tips from a behavioral expert here at Bundoo.

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9. Be realistic about how long you can hang. When you were 22 and childless, you might have actually shopped till you dropped. Not anymore. Prioritize the stores you really want to hit, and don’t plan a marathon shopping trip.

10. Remember one thing. This is supposed to be fun! If you’re laid back and enjoying the trip, chances are your child will, too. Make it a memory. Take some shopping selfies of you and your toddler. And remember: this won’t last forever. One day you won’t want to take her Black Friday shopping because she’ll cost you an arm and a leg.

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About Stephanie Winans, President, Pregnancy and Pediatrics

Stephanie Winans is the Chief Operating Officer here at Bundoo. When she’s not working, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and 5-year-old daughter, reading like it’s going out of style, or obsessing over shoes and baby nurseries on Pinterest.


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