Kristina Watts is a mom of three, so she knows what it's like to shlep through the aisles of Target or Walmart just praying her kid doesn't catch a glimpse of the latest Frozen doll or Lego set. Because when kids set their sights on a toy, it's all over. The whole shopping trip becomes an exhausting circular conversation of "Can I have it?" and "No! Put it back!" and "But I want it!" and "But you don't make the rules!"
Whether you're a parent or a former annoying kid (we were all annoying!), you recognize this situation. And these shopping trips become especially harrowing during the holiday season because kids know they're getting presents soon. They taste sweet victory, so they think if they just beg enough, they'll convince their parents to give in. But Kristina has figured out a brilliant, simple way to stop these conversations in their tracks, and she went totally viral for it.
In a recent Facebook post, Kristina explains "the most amazing parenting hack ever" that "has stopped MANY meltdowns." Are you ready for this life-changing information? Kristina continues to explain, "Our trips to the store used to be a lot more painful this time of year. Toys are out in full force... and of course my kids WANT IT ALL."
Sure, Kristina writes, she would love to have polite, reserved children who don't ask for things, but she doesn't... and that seems unrealistic anyway. So when her daughter Emerson begs for a toy and starts to get upset, all Kristina does is take a picture.
How does this mitigate the situation? Kristina explains, "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."
You can also send it to... no one. She's a child. She'll never know.
But does this really work? For Kristina and Emerson, it totally does. She writes, "Magically, Emmie smiles, says cheese, asks to see the picture, then PUTS THE TOY DOWN AND WALKS AWAY. It's magical. No tears. No tantrums (by either of us). And she forgets about all of them within minutes... This is about to rock your world. For real, try it friends. You're welcome."
Seems sort of genius, doesn't it? Of course, if you don't celebrate Christmas or your kids don't believe in Santa... I don't know what to tell you. Tell them you'll send the picture to Hanukkah Harry or even just that you'll keep the picture for the next holiday and maybe if they're good, you'll buy it for them.
For what it's worth, it really does seem like this tactic has prevented many a temper tantrum in the Watts family. And it's so simple! I think the lesson here is that kids are adorable, but they're also so gullible, and if you take an extra second to think about it, you can probably figure out a way to get them to stop being so annoying.
Judging from the response to Kristina's post, many parents were ecstatic to have this new knowledge at their fingertips. With 31,000 reactions, 16,000 comments, and 53,000 shares, don't be surprised if you see multiple parents in the toy aisle at Target taking pictures of their kids posing with toys they want Santa to bring them.
The above picture is my favorite one of the bunch, partly because Emerson really wants a case of Sparkling Ice, but also because it illustrates the fact that you can use this trick in any store at any time of the year. Your kid wants ice cream from the grocery store in August? Maybe Santa will get it for them. Let's take a picture.
The trick works on several levels, too, as one commenter points out: "I just started doing this and it works on two levels... It makes my daughter move along a lot faster from the toy section, and when relatives ask what she wants for her birthday or Christmas, I actually have exact ideas to send to them." See? This is the kind of parenting brilliance we all need to be sharing with each other. Happy Holidays! Go forth and take pics for Santa.