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Mom's genius holiday wish list hack stops kids from begging for toys

Nov. 27, 2019
Mom's genius holiday wish list hack stops kids from begging for toys

As magical as the holiday season is, it can also be a stressful time for parents. The stores are stocked with even more toys and electronic devices than usual, and kids are anxious to get their hands on each and every one of them. A simple shopping trip to the store with a child in the middle of December can easily devolve into a mess of begging and whining to buy the latest thing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Kristina Watts, a mom from Belfair, Washington, recently shared the genius way she gets her kids to stop begging for new stuff during the holidays — and how she creates a super easy digital Christmas list at the same time.

In a viral Facebook post, Watts writes that trips to the store used to be “painful” for her family during this time of year. 

“Toys are out in full force … and of course my kids WANT IT ALL,” she says. “Obviously I would love to have sweet, well-mannered, non-greedy, chill kids, that don’t ask for all the things … but I don’t … if you have kids like mine that want the shiny amazing things that fill Target, the grocery store, Office Depot, the gas station, and pretty much everywhere you go this time of year, this is for you.”

Watts goes on to explain that whenever her kids ask for something at the store, she doesn’t participate in a battle of wills, buy things they don’t need or end up back in the car with kids who are crying because mom said “no.” Instead, she just takes a picture.

“It’s that simple,” Watts says. “Pause for a second, comment on the thing they’re pointing out, and say, ‘Let’s take a picture with it and send it to Santa so he knows you want it!’ Note: You can send it to Santa, grandma, TeeTee Stephanie or whoever it is you can pawn it off on. Totally up to you and can be different every time.”

Once again my camera roll is FULL of pictures of Emerson with every single thing she wants for Christmas. Why...because...

Posted by Kristina Watts on Sunday, November 17, 2019

Watts’ tip not only stops the impending tantrums, it also helps you build customized, digital holiday lists that you can share with family and friends by simply sending them the photos. Plus, it’s a great way to remember all of those random items kids beg for that you forget about as soon as you’re ready to shop.

Other parents were blown away by the mom’s simple yet brilliant advice. So far, her post has over 49,000 shares and over 15,000 comments. 

“I just can't help but admire the brilliance of this on so many levels,” one person writes. “One, your child is behaving beautifully because the photo goes to Santa. Second, that moment when family asks what to get your child and your mind is blank, hey, presto, not only suggestions, but a photo of the package making it easier for them to find! Third and my favorite, the camera roll full of happy, shining smiles of your daughter you now have.”

Another parent says they do this with their own kids, and it even helps them make shorter lists. 

“I have been doing this for years now,” she says. “It truly does work, and I even review the pictures with the kids and they end up weeding out what they thought they wanted.”

Of course, not everyone was impressed. Some told the mom she needs to be tougher on her kids and set more boundaries. 

“I just tell my sons no because they need to learn that they can’t have everything that they want,” one person writes. “Tantrum if you want, you’re definitely not getting it.”

Another adds, “I mean, call me Karen, but you have to TEACH kids how to not be greedy, how to work for what they want and how to effectively process their feelings so that they don’t need to throw tantrums. They aren’t just born that way. So, I don’t just have children like that, I raised children like that. You, too, can raise children like that. Just talk to your kids about their feelings. It’s possible, I promise.”

Obviously, it’s up to every parent to teach boundaries and decide on the appropriate way to handle in-store tantrums and begging sessions. But Watts’ hack doesn’t need to replace standard parent discipline. It’s simply a new way of doing something parents have always done: asking kids to channel their rampant “I want, I want, I want” chants into a holiday wish list.

Holiday wish lists have been around for a long time, and just because they’ve gone digital doesn’t necessarily mean parents are suddenly taking photos of every single thing their kids want and promising to buy it instead of teaching kids how to behave. This mom’s hack isn’t a plea to let kids run wild. It’s simply one option that may help parents multitask, problem-solve and avoid some added stress during a particularly special time of year. And judging by the thousands of positive responses it has generated from other parents, there are going to be a lot more photo shoots happening on toy aisles this holiday season.

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