My husband and I love our long drives to get to our holiday destinations. With the kids asleep or plugged into a movie, we get huge stretches of time to talk, plan and dream. Of course, most of our time we spend talking about the kids.
On our way to Chicago for March Break, one of the things we discussed was how to prevent the Gift Store Struggle. You know the one: you have a great time at a museum, then the kids hit the gift store and go a bit wacko wanting to buy all manner of junk just because it’s on sale in a handy location. With plans to go to seven museums in five days, I did not want to face this struggle more than once a day.
Here is the solution we came up with: the kids would get to roam free in each and every gift shop, explore all that was on offer, and make a list of their favourite things. At the end of the trip, we would save time to go back and buy the one thing that they wanted the most. This also meant that they could get one substantial gift, rather than several little things.
The kids were fully on board and it worked wonderfully! They loved wandering through the gift stores, they did not once pester us for an instant gratification purchase, and they’d enthusiastically compare notes at the end of the day. (Now, we still bought them baseball caps, t-shirts and books of our own accord. This satisfied my sense of an appropriate souvenir, so the plan saved us from daily struggles but not from a bulging suitcase.)
No hassle, shopping autonomy, and big smiles all around.