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Should You Take the Kids "Black Friday" Shopping?


The day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It’s come to be known as “Black Friday;” a day where deals can definitely be found.

In some places, it has become more like a scene from the movie “Fight Club” than a shopping spree. There seems to have developed a need so great for the cheapest electronics and clothes that people are willing to fight, push and steal from each other to get them.

So, should you take your kids with you if you’re planning on doing a little shopping on this unruly day?  The short answer is no. However, if you find yourself in a situation that it’s either the kids go, or there is no holiday shopping to be had, then do some planning ahead of time to prepare.

If there is anyway possible to avoid taking a newborn into a crowd of grabbing hands, shoving elbows and long lines – not to mention the germs- please do it.  Newborns will be the most vulnerable and will demand all of your attention. If you do take a baby with you, make sure you have a partner who can help with your baby’s care and safety.

In an article on The Penny Hoarder, author Nicole Dieker, reached out to Rosemarie Groner, a mother of two and owner of the Busy Budgeter blog, for tips on how to successfully navigate Black Friday with the kids.

Groner shares her thoughts and suggestions on the topic.

Though not typically recommended, this may be the day when giving your little one unlimited screen time on a tablet or cell phone is warranted. An all-day shopping trip becomes more fun for the kids when there is a digital distraction to keep them occupied.

It’s also a good idea to pack small toys to keep kids entertained, and Groner suggests packing special toys that kids don’t usually get to play with. 

It’s also possible to buy new toys to increase the delight/distraction factor – just make sure the new ones are within your budget.

Packing your kids’ favorite snacks is another great way to delight and distract. The kids get their favorite goodies — and yes, this is the time to pull out those special-occasion treats — and you also save money by not having to buy snacks at the food court. 

“Packing a cooler full of drinks, sandwiches and portable snacks like Go-Gurt, trail mix and chips can help you avoid the high cost of eating out,” Groner explained. It’ll also help you keep the kids happy, fed and hydrated so you can keep shopping. A small roll around cart is essential for keeping everything you’ll need portable.

What about those famous Door-busters? Should you tackle those? Many stores have moved the open door time for these super-shopping events to Midnight or 1:00 AM. Some people even camp out in front of the store hoping they will be the first ones through the doors.

Groner suggests you skip it. “Unless I could save several hundred dollars on something I would have bought anyway, I would skip the frustrations involved in that. I can’t think of anything that I could get to make camping outside of a store with kids overnight worth it.” If you feel left out on great deals – look for the same items online on Cyber Monday. Shop in your pajamas with a cup of coffee, from your own home instead!

If Black Friday shopping is still calling your name, shop in teams. If you’ve got another parent, relative or friend available to shop with you, use the power of teamwork.

“It’s a great idea to team up with another adult,” Groner said. “That would give you both a chance to break away for a few minutes kid-free to grab something while the other handles the kids.”

With two adults, you also have someone available to take kids to the bathroom, sit with them as they eat a snack and help entertain them when they get bored.

If you have a small child, consider using a well-made child harness to make sure your little one doesn’t disappear in the crowd.

Black Friday shopping has become a sport for those who are free to move about easily, have plenty of stamina and little distraction. If you’re the parent of small kids, online shopping may be just the ticket for your holiday gifts.

Story source: Nicole Dieker,


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