PARENTS are being urged to plan their Christmas shopping carefully or risk sending their little ones into meltdown at the mall.
The retail rush sends most people's stress levels soaring, but Queensland's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program says it's possible to make shopping with the family fun.
Queensland program director Carol Markie-Dadds said parents need to carefully time their trips and engage their children in the experience.
"Toddlers have less self-control and get bored very easily. If parents fail to recognise that, shopping trips will go very wrong, very quickly," Ms Markie-Dadds said.
"But there are lots of simple things parents can do to make shopping fun for everyone.
"Make the trips short and get the children involved in choosing and buying your purchases - you may end up with a team of your very own Christmas elves!"
Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said successfully shopping with children was just one of the helpful strategies on offer for parents as part of the Triple P program.
"Whether it is reducing your shopping stress, managing bedtime or taming tantrums, Triple P has the tips parents need and best of all, it is free for all Queensland families.
"It can help parents to develop the strategies and confidence to give their kids a great start in life."
Triple P's top 5 tips for shopping with kids
1. Choose the least hectic time of day that suits your child's routine.
2. Children can't cope with long shopping trips. Several brief trips are better than a marathon shopping expedition.
3. Explain these ground rules before you go - stay close, speak nicely and do as you're told. Restate the rules if they break them and be prepared to back them up with a consequence like quiet time if they continue to do so.
4. Schedule breaks for your children, but avoid giving them food or drink to quieten them as this may encourage misbehavior in the future.
5. If children are buying gifts for others talk to them about what the recipient might like before you praise them if they make a good choice.