SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 22, 2013

Column: Communication and planning can make for a great holiday season

Holidays are a time we look forward to all year round. I remember last year the day after Christmas when my younger son asked me, “Mom when is Christmas coming again? How long is it from now?” I had to love the question and the answer. For me, it was a relief that we all got through it safely, with cheer and without breaking the bank. Here are some facts and tips to help parents plan for the best holiday season.

Shopping and gift giving

Holiday shopping can be stressful for you and your bank account. It begins with the highly anticipated Black Friday stampede, followed by the quest to get the kiddies everything on their list.

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales are expected to increase 3.9 percent to $602 billion in 2013. The Consumer Electronics Association reports 37 percent of Americans will brave the Black Friday crowds.

When shopping during the holidays with kids, safety is the most important thing. If parents have to bring their kids along, they should think about safety and how to manage children in a busy shopping situation.

Shopping safety tips

Use the stroller/carriage whenever possible because it’s easy to contain packages and your child

Supervise your child at all times, including bathroom visits

Have your safety talk with your child before he or she gets to the mall

Take your child into fitting rooms even if you have to wait for oversized ones that will fit the entire family

Parents need to communicate upfront and agree on the shopping plan both in terms of logistics and safety on Black Friday or any holiday shopping day. Also, they should agree on budget and appropriate toys.

Plan to park far away from congestion and walk; tell your kids in advance of the plan and the safety rules in a busy parking lot or street

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