Someone once advised me that when my kids got the “I want’s” that I should suggest they put it on a list.
At the time I thought, oh great, then I have to maintain “lists” of things that a two year old wants (since they can’t write) but I was almost giddy when I tried it – and years later, still get giddy when it works – which is at least 98% of the time.
Here’s the deal. Your little person says “MOM I want that!” ‘that’ being anything they see on t.v., in a store, in someone else’s hand. You say “Put it on your list”.
They may say “what list” or “what’s my list” but they may not. If they do, you tell them it’s ‘the list of things they’d like to have’ and from that glorious day forward when you hear “MOM I want that” you respond. “OK. put it on your list”.
You think I’m crazy right? Or that my kids are somehow deviants? Well, The Pie, The Dervish and The Girl are completely different personalities – Ok, well Dervish and The Girl are very similar but both of them are miles apart from The Pie and this has worked for all three of them.
The looks I get in the toy aisles from other parents when they overhear this conversation is amusing because it does work so well. The Girl starts her demand with a loud excited cry and after she’s been given permission to add the item to the ‘list’ she smiles and says “thanks mom”. It’s nuts. It shouldn’t work, or at least it should only be temporary but The Dervish is 7 and it’s been working for him for about 4 years – and not once have I been required to get paper and pencil and make the list physical.
The only downside that I’ve found is that I can’t seem to convince them that they don’t need my permission to add items to the list and it seems that I have to “see” the item being added but man, who cares? Give it a try and see if this parenting tip is as magical in your family.
Why this works – a theory.
I think this works because you are validating what they are saying/feeling/thinking. You aren’t saying “no”. (nor are you saying yes but avoiding “no” is a good thing) and they get to maintain hope that they might at some point have the thing they want.