One of the more difficult things to do as a stay at home mom is to find time to get out without the kids tagging along, especially when they’re younger. It’s bad enough the rest of the year, but when the holiday season comes and you want to get presents for the kids without them catching you at it, things can get pretty difficult. How can you handle all that shopping when you need to watch the kids?

These are just a few of the ways I handle things. It’s not always easy to get time on my own, but something is usually possible eventually.

Shop Online

This one should be obvious these days, but it’s not always easy to keep kids from peeking over your shoulder, nor is it always a replacement for going out and actually seeing the things you want to buy. When you’ve got just a little time and privacy, it’s one of the easiest. Great selection, shipping free from many sites, this stuff can be good.

Amazon is a common favorite because they carry such an amazing range of things. I also have a deep fondness for ThinkGeek. I’d imagine you have your own favorites too.

Shop During School Hours

If the kids go to school and you have a few hours without them, it’s a great time to get your holiday shopping done. It means watching the clock a little, but that’s not usually a major problem.

Have Someone Else Watch the Kids

I love this option. Usually it’s my husband or a grandparent watching the kids to give me time out for holiday shopping. Grandparents are particularly useful if my husband and I want to go out shopping together. It’s fun picking things out with someone else to talk to, after all.

If you don’t have family nearby, see about trading off with friends. Surely you know someone else who has a hard time getting out to shop because of their kids. Make a deal which benefits you both.

Remember Toddlers Don’t Really Understand Everything

I do a lot of my holiday shopping with my toddler in tow, even if it’s for her. I can show her things, even put them into the cart and buy them, and know that by the time I give them to her, she’ll be excited all over again. She also doesn’t yet have the vocabulary to spoil any surprises for her siblings.

Shop Later

One of the presents my kids ask for most often is that I take them shopping after the holidays or a birthday. They love that a big part of their present is time out with me or their father, whoever they pick. A budget is set, the kinds of things I’ll be willing to buy explained, and off we go. Usually there’s ice cream or a movie involved as well. It’s fun and it ensures that whatever is bought is what that child wanted.

I try to make this one on one time, but it can be done with siblings along if desired. Just make it a little extra special.