Keep kids engaged and occupied during holiday shopping trips

Holiday shopping with kids can be fun. Kids enjoy giving gifts, and bringing them along on shopping excursions to offer their input can make the season that much more special for youngsters.

But bringing the little ones along on a holiday shopping trip also can be tricky, as kids can easily grow tired or bored at the mall. The following are a few tips to ensure kids and adults enjoy their holiday shopping trips together.

* Bring backup. Kids might find shopping enjoyable at the outset, but visiting store after store can drain them of that enthusiasm. To quell the inevitable boredom, bring along some backup, such as a handheld video game or a tablet or e-reader on which kids can watch a favorite film or television show.

* Choose your shopping destination wisely. All malls and retailers are certainly not equal, especially when kids will be accompanying you for a day of shopping. Some malls offer attractions for kids, such as a merry-go-round or a live performance with a holiday theme. Such attractions provide some balance to a shopping trip, giving kids something to look forward to between store visits.

* Don't be a Scrooge. An ice cream cone, some holiday cookies or a hot chocolate might not be the healthiest fare for youngsters, but such items can make a shopping excursion that much more enjoyable. When shopping with kids in tow, relax a youngster's dietary restrictions so they can enjoy some holiday treats while shopping till they drop.

* Give kids some spending money. Kids are more likely to engage themselves in a holiday shopping trip if they have some spending money of their own. Offer children some money before leaving the house, and tell them the money is theirs to spend on gifts as they see fit. Kids might just enjoy looking for the perfect gift and hunting down a holiday bargain as much as Mom and Dad.

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