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22nd Dec 2023

Parents offer great advice if your kids are ‘always asking for toys’

Jody Coffey


Have you got a little one who sees a toy and thinks they ‘need’ to have it ‘right now’?

You’re not alone. Most kids don’t understand the value of money and when they see brightly coloured, shiny new toys, all they know is that they want it.

Advice from parents who have lived through this experience is often the best advice out there and what’s more is that it’s completely free – so we’ll take all the help we can to limit toy aisle meltdowns.

One parent took to Reddit to seek guidance from other parents because their three-year-old child is ‘constantly asking for toys’ whenever they are at the store.

They explained that the family was not in a financial position to buy toys, but they also didn’t want to sit their daughter down and tell her this.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate. Plus, I don’t want to give her a complex about money. It is such a hassle because shes strong willed, doesn’t give in, is relentless, throws a complete tantrum in the store and at home and it’s exhausting every time,” they wrote.

Credit: Getty

As both mum and dad work alternating shifts, they have little choice but to take their daughter with them when the food shop needs to be done.

As a final resort, they decided to ask people online for tips and received some wise advice on how to cope in this situation.

One user advised having a gentle discussion before entering the store about a list of things they would not be buying and reminding them in-store again.

They also advised that they avoid the toy section altogether.

Credit: Getty

This next parent’s hack is actually quite genius and also allows the mum or dad to feel good about having to say no.

“I started saying ‘let me take a picture so I can remember and you can add it to your birthday/Christmas wish list’. Most of the time that would put it to rest and she would forget about it.

“I think it also helps my daughter feel like I wasn’t being dismissive of her wants. It’s too exhausting as a parent to listen attentively to every asking whim but it also doesn’t feel right to constantly be saying just ‘no’.”

Acknowledging them or the toy was also recommended by one person.

“Agree with them without saying yes (‘that is a cool toy!’) while moving on. Maybe do some imaginative play as you move on (‘imagine if that toy robot was as big as they building! What would happen?’).”

“Agree with them and say when they could maybe get it while actually adding to a list, at that age it could be a photo of them next to the toy, and quickly move on. They’ll quickly forget about it too,” they suggested.

Other suggestions involved having in-store pick-up for groceries to avoid going into the store at all or buying a ‘distraction’ that’s on sale (for example, fruit snacks, biscuits, or crackers that cost less than 2).

One resounding answer from parents was: ‘Never give in, no matter how extreme the tantrum gets’.

Leaving the store as soon as it starts, ignoring, or walking away when the meltdown begins is what most parents recommend, but always maintaining this boundary is key to avoiding more toy requests in the future.

While learning how other mums and dads navigate the throes of parenthood is useful for shaping how we ourselves will guide our little ones into adults, it’s just advice; you don’t have to take it. What may work for one toddler may not work for yours. It’s all about trial and error.