Newsroom > DHHS News Release

December 15, 2010

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services Division, (402) 471-8287

Helpful Tips for Shopping With Children

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Lincoln – Holiday shopping and frazzled children can go hand in hand. The Department of Health and Human Services offers these tips to make shopping easier for both adults and children.

* Set a time limit for shopping: Resist the urge to try to buy all your gifts in one shopping trip.

* Plan ahead: If your child is tired or hungry, either postpone your trip or find a sitter. Bring along a few small snacks so you won’t have to stand in long lines at a food court.

* Agree on the rules before entering the store: Make your expectations clear, such as "Stay close to me," and "Use your quiet voice." Children can disappear into clothing racks or wander off and not realize they can no longer be seen.

* Let your children know you appreciate their help: Rewards for good behavior can be anything from a snack to promising to play a game when you get home. Keep it simple, and be sure to follow up.

* Let your children help choose gifts: Your child can help make decisions, even if it’s simply what color sweater to buy.

* Count to ten before responding to a child who is acting out: Never hit or spank a child. If a child gets overexcited, it may be time to take him or her to the restroom or out of the store. Calm yourself down, talk quietly to your child, and give him or her a hug. It may be necessary to go home if behavior is still inappropriate.

The public can help frazzled parents, too. If you see a parent who is frustrated and tired, ask if you can help. Offer to help carry packages, and say something nice to show you understand the pressure they may be feeling.

For information on the “Rethink Your Reaction” child abuse awareness campaign on creating safe and healthy family interactions, go to