A mother’s ingenious hack for preventing pre-Christmas tantrums over toys has gone viral. Not only does the smart technique save parents the exhaustion of constantly saying “no,” but it also lets children feel acknowledged, heard, and validated.
Kristina Watts, from Belfair, Washington, swears by her “photo wish list” technique ever since seeing the magic in action on Christmas 2019. Belfair was hit hard by Hurricane Michael, and Kristina stepped up to help organize a gift drive for dispossessed kids at Lucille Moore Elementary School.
“I made an Amazon Wishlist for all 500 kids,” Kristina, 35, told Bored Panda, “went live on Facebook and called my friends to action. Within days, our house was filled with toys from people all over the U.S.”
The drive amassed around $45,000 worth of toys, all of which was temporarily stored at the Watts’s home. Kristina’s then-2-year-old daughter, Emerson, was entranced.
“It was like having our own toy store,” Kristina recalled. “Emmie wanted to open and play with everything and did not understand that they weren’t for her.”
Kristina came up with a smart solution. She took photos of her daughter with the unboxed toys she liked the most and compiled a “wish list” that at least recognized the little girl’s presence—if not her hunger for presents. It worked.
“She stopped trying to get everything out of its package,” Kristina explained. “She’d carry it around, take a picture, and put it back.”
The clever mom hack also worked in toy stores. Having had to carry Emmie out of stores “screaming and flailing” in the past, Kristina now swears by the tactic, which she helpfully shared on Facebook during a successful shopping trip to Target with her daughter.
“If you aren’t using this hack … listen up friends,” she captioned. “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!’
“Magically, Emmie smiles, says cheese, asks to see the picture, then PUTS THE TOY DOWN AND WALKS AWAY.”
The best part of all is that her daughter soon forgets about the toys, Kristina confided. In testament to the efficacy of Kristina’s trick, her post has been shared over 84,000 times; thousands of parents have sent notes of thanks on social media.
“It’s the modern-day way of circling everything in the J.C. Penney Christmas catalog, or writing a wish list,” Kristina told Good Morning America. “That’s it. A fun way to avoid tears by both of us while out running holiday errands.
“I’m not one to give parenting advice,” she added. “I’m just trying to raise decent humans, and get by.”
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