Help keep kids calm and entertained during holiday errands

‘Tis the season when even grown-ups tend to feel under-funded and over-committed. Kids, amid vibrating with excitement and expectation, can also get overwhelmed, and act out accordingly. Jean Lawrence, a Phoenix-based medical journalist writing for WebMD, refers to the “gimmes,” the sugar meltdowns, and the “are we there yets?” that go hand-in-hand with the holidays. In “Parenting Tips for the Holidays,” she offers great ideas, ranging from modeling giving behaviors, to helping kids right-size their expectations, to supporting them in coping with recent divorce.

Simply shopping for the holidays can be a supersized ordeal for both parents and kids. Columnist Alison Griffiths, writing for Metro Canada, reinforces every parent’s experience in “Make Holiday Shopping a Teachable Moment for Your Kids,” when she notes that kids get easily distracted in stores. She offers that making a list can help kids focus. She also urges parents to “Take two or three shorter shopping trips rather than an all-day marathon.”

Kids pick up fast on their parents’ emotions. Give yourself some breathing time by keeping them occupied and learning, while you collect your thoughts, get dinner ready or head out on holiday shopping or other errands. Try this free and colorful holiday hidden pictures page. Or let them practice counting and creativity as they connect the dots to create a holiday elf or angel.

For just 99 cents grab the exciting Jolly Try-n-Spy app in either Android or iOS format. Kids love finding hidden pictures, and this twinkling app gives them plenty of spy-it time. One of the 10 jolly holiday scenes will start out black and white, but spy all 6 hidden images to create holiday magic. The scene turns full-color fabulous as Santa and his reindeer sleigh blaze across the sky! Each puzzle records the player’s spy time, and the fastest times will get added to the Holiday Hall of Fame! The app’s settings let kids choose between the Nice or Naughty—traditional or revved-up—seasonal soundtrack. This playful app turns holiday shopping frenzies into focused, fanciful, find-it fun.