Black Friday Shopping Tips for the Smart Mom

I have yet to even shop for the necessary items to create a tasty Thanksgiving, and yet the Black Friday deal alerts have already clogged my inbox and Facebook and Twitter feeds.


Wasn’t there a time when Black Friday was actually restricted to the Friday after Thanksgiving?


Not this year, my friends.  This year it’s ON.


I must admit, the people who live for Black Friday intrigue me.  Actually, I’m kind of in awe of them.  There seems to be some kind of family bonding behind it.  They meet well before the sun rises, coffee and bagels in hand.  They strategize.  They compare lists.  And when the doors open, they make a run for it.


My adrenaline is pumping just thinking about it.


But you won’t find me fighting the crowds this holiday season.  This mommy of two will be Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my couch.  I’m likely to have a steaming hot mug of Vanilla Sleepytime Tea in my hand and repeats of Friends running in the background.  And I’ll probably be winging it, sans list.  There’s something exciting about the unexpected find, after all…


But for the rest of you brave moms out there who might even bring your kids along for the ride…I thought some survival tips might be in order.


Here goes:


Don’t Do It:  You read the part about the deals clogging my inbox and social media feeds in advance, right?  Now is the time to rock your social media savvy and shop ONLINE!  Sure, some of the door buster deals require your actual presence at an actual store, and shipping charges apply when you shop online.  But shopping from your couch when the kids are asleep?  There is no better way to shop, if you ask me…


No?  You don’t believe me?  You just have to have every single in-store deal this season?  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but read on…


Have a Plan:  Certainly you’ve had at least one grocery store trip that didn’t go as planned…every mom has.  Create a specific list and stick to it.  This is no time to shop every department.  This is a grab and go kind of situation!


Arrive on Time:  This year, many stores have rolling deals happening.  Don’t assume that all door buster deals require a 4am arrival time.  Call ahead to find out exactly when those tablets go on sale and plan accordingly.  Kids have a limited attention span when it comes to shopping.  Shop smart.


Bring Healthy Snacks:  Believe me, I understand the power of a lollipop.  But the last thing you need on the busiest day of the year is a sugar high in your shopping cart.  Also?  You don’t want a vomit-fest because you finally broke down and bought the butter soaked pretzel.  Pack your purse with several healthy snack options and plenty of water.  Lines will be long.  Refreshments will likely be necessary.


Bribery Wins:  I know; I know…you don’t need bribes to get your kid to behave.  Don’t get me started on that (I love bribes.  You know that, right?  Bribes are practical).  For today, bring the bribes.  A single Tic Tac can work wonders for cranky kids, and an inexpensive toy will get you everywhere.  If you are bringing your kids shopping on Black Friday, you are asking a lot of them.  Crowds, lines, and frustration are pretty much part of the deal.  A small reward goes a long way…


Make it a Game:  If they have to come along, why not involve them in the process?  Even toddlers can recognize numbers and colors on signs…let them search for the goods!  Kids love to feel needed.  Create a picture list of your target items and let your kids help search.  Trailing along behind mom isn’t much fun, but helping mom is a different story.  Make it fun.


Shop Superstores:  If you have to shop with your kids, try to avoid multiple stops at your local mall.  The beauty of superstores is the one stop shopping element…resist the urge to drag your kids from store to store when you can probably find multiple items in one store.  The online deals will continue throughout the season…Black Friday should be used for must-haves only.


Know When to Say When:  Kids can only be expected to hold it together for so long.  Exhaustion, hunger, and boredom are all known tantrum triggers.  Black Friday is not the day to push the limits.  Quit while you’re ahead and know that you’ve done the best you can do in stores.


Then put your kids to bed, brew your Vanilla Sleepytime Tea, and buy the rest online.  You’ll thank me for it…I swear.


Happy shopping, brave mamas!





About Katie

Katie Hurley is a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She works in private practice in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, writes for PBS Parents, Washington Post Parents, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World" (Tarcher/Penguin, 2015) and "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" (Penguin Random House, 2018)