Lesson Learned: I want, I want, I want

Written by: Sarah Cobb

When my daughter really started talking, we experienced the onslought of "I want, I want, I want" with each TV commerical, every time we passed a toy aisle in Jewel or Target, and as she flipped through catalogs arriving in the mail. Sometimes, I would try to explain that we can't buy everything we want. Other times, I would try pointing out that the toy was too expensive, too young for her, or some other rational reason why it wasn't going to happen. But, In her head, all she heard was the Peanuts Gang teacher - "wa wa wa wa no wa wa."  This usually escalated quickly to whining, raised voices, and theatrical tantrums.

Then I received some great advice from a friend.  Create a Good Girl list.

The Good Girl (or boy) list works for us like this:

  • She sees something she wants and starts in on "Mom, I want...."
  • I say, "Wow, that is pretty cool.  Do you want to add that to your good girl list?"
  • She says, "Yes!!!"  and often "Can I get it now?"
  • I say, "Well, you know the way our good girl list works! I'll add it to your list and  when you are a really good girl, you get to pick something special off of your list!"
  • She says, "OK" and smiles.

The nirvana parent moment of being heard and understood-- and tantrum drama avoided. You will not believe the thrill in their eyes when you acknowledge and confirm their dreamy wishes. Bonus - the Good Girl list doubles as an easy to share wish list for birthdays and holidays!

A few Good Girl List approaches:

  • Carry around a proper pen and paper
  • Try a smart phone app ("List Buddy-Classic" - super easy & FREE)
  • Or, my "list" method

We started with a real list. Then we transitioned to our current "model".  I just tell her it is on her list and when we actually go to Target after a great week or when it just feels right, she picks out something that she really wants then and there. The "list" is more of a concept than a piece of paper. If it was a real list, it would look like a massive scroll of neverending princess supplies and toys.

I hope this saves you from many many in-store melt downs. It saved us!

Posted on August 11, 2011 at 9:07 AM