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Old 10-04-2008, 10:01 AM   #1
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4 year old with the "I wants!"

I need your help mamas! I have a four year old son that is constanting asking for new toys (even from people at church and our neighbors), yelling "I want that", "I want that", whenever the TV is on. Telling me he wants to throw away all of his toys so he can buy new ones. I've decided to turn our cable off so we at least eliminate that part of it. Is this normal? What do I say/ how do I react? I've tried ignoring it and I've also tried to explain that it's not nice to ask people for toys, but not effect...

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Old 10-04-2008, 10:08 AM   #2
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

I think it is totally normal. My DS is almost 4 and wants EVERYTHING, lol. Whenever a commercial is on even if it is something he is not into - he says, I want that mom! I just say "oh that IS a really cool ____! I think it is neat too!" We just leave it at that. I think it is totally normal to like things and want things. It doesn't mean we have to get them! lol A good video for this is Veggietales' Madame Blueberry video -she collects so much stuff it is popping out of her house. Also, it is a good time to teach about giving and people who need things. It is such a neat age, because they are so aware now of everything! They are like little sponges ready to learn

ETA: I don't think it is a bad thing to want things - just to know your limitations. When he asks someone for something just tell him he can add it to his "Wish list" for Christmas. I think most people with or without kids know kids want things.. don't worry about them thinking he is spoiled. It is part of being a kid to verbalize things like that! lol
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

Totally normal in my world!! I came up with something when my two oldest got to that stage that I think helped, or at least it does with my kids. If they don't already know toys cost money, you would have to explain all that, but then I just tell them to save their money and they can buy it. Pretty soon it turned into "Start saving". I think it works because I'm not telling them no flat out, but I'm also not buying it for them. If they really, really want something they will keep talking about it and we can figure out little extra jobs they can do to earn the money, usually a quarter at a time. I keep track of it on paper that we can both see and take them to buy the toy when they have earned the amount of money it costs. Most of the time it's just something they see, want, and forget about later, never to mention again. But they don't throw a fit over it because I didn't say "NO". I get lots of giggles in the store too. People find it funny, I guess, that I say start saving and my kids say okay.
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:58 AM   #4
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

We did the whole "that's really cool!" bit too. A lot of times they just wanted to talk about it and share the interest. Times that didn't work it got put on our "wish list" - a small notebook I kept in my purse. By the time a holiday came around and we pulled out the list, they weren't interested in 90% of what was on it anymore.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:51 AM   #5
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

It is totally normal. I tell my DD who still does this at almost 6 years old that we can add it to the list. The list is not real. I to mentally keep track what her interests are. I said we will see what we can get for her Christmas and Birthday presents. She knows that is the only time she gets presents really. Regrettfully that is back to back litterally.
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:00 PM   #6
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

Thanks for the help mamas! Do your kids ask other people for "stuff"? It embarrasses me...I don't want everyone to think I have a bratty child...he's really sweet!
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Old 10-04-2008, 03:06 PM   #7
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

My dd is three and starting with asking other people for things. I've been trying to use it as an opportunity to teach manners. I'll just say"It's not nice manners to ask _ for treats". She know that if it's offered she is allowed to say yes and thank you. It is a tough situation because they do come across awfully bratty lol.
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:31 PM   #8
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Re: 4 year old with the "I wants!"

This might be a good time to implement an allowance. For instances, you could start giving him $1 a week for helping do a few chores around the house (this is what we give our 3 yod right now.) Then you can look online to find the price of the item he wants. Then you could encourage him to start saving his money. You could even print out a picture of the item and find a way to mark what he's saved so far. If they can understand sticker charts for PL (this is what we did at times) then they can understand the same concept around saving money. I realize that he might be a little young. But helping him walk through the concepts will help him see that he can't have everything and it does come with a price. To help with this concept you could start small with with a bouncey ball at Walmart or something. I did that with my 3 yod. He used his own money from his piggy bank to purchase the ball.

I have a 9, 7, and almost 6 yod. They each have a "list" of items they are saving for. . .and these are big items. My 6 yod is saving her allowance and birthday money to purchase a doll that is like the American Girl dolls (it's about $90.) We sat down and figured how much she would need from allowance and how much birthday money she would need. She even asked grandparents to give her money instead of toys for her birthday. My 9 yod is saving her money for a $50 dress that matches a dress that she bought for her $90 a few months ago. My 7 yod saved his money to purchase a fish tank and such.

By having them save for the things they want, they begin to understand that can't just have everything that comes along. It helps them grasp delayed gratification as well. I think you were a very wise momma to turn off the cable. I also don't let my kid look through catalogs anymore. I don't think we have nearly as many problems with the gimme's when we have the TV off. If we do watch TV, we use a DVR and cut the commercials out. If we do watch commercials, I usually will talk with them about how the commercials are designed to pull us in and make us want more. Of course, I only do that with my older kids. If my 3 yod starts in I just tell him he needs to save him allowance. He's still a little young to put all that together but in the near future we will begin to walk him through the process of saving and buying his own toys (the bouncey ball I mentioned was a fluke. He did spend his allowance but he didn't connect anything at the time.)

As far as when he does it to other people, I remember doing this as a child. My mother considered it disrespectful and disciplined me for it. LOL!!! I didn't do it very often. I don't know if I would do the same thing with my kids but it would definitely be something that I address. It may be normal for kids to do that BUT it doesn't make it right. They need to be taught it's wrong. There does need to be a boundary in what they should do and say to other people. And he's old enough to start learning that even now. Kids are smart. But they do need to be instructed and guided through the processes of life. Don't be embarassed if he does it. But I would talk to him alone about it and then if he does ask a stranger I would have him apologize for being rude. He'll learn it eventually. Make sense?

One last thing you can do, is if he wants to give his toys away, I would walk him through the process of purging and giving to toys away to people who can't afford them. There is nothing more eye opening to a child than to give toys away to people who can't afford them at all. We purge periodically and take them to GoodWill or something like that. We usually do this around the time that consignment sales come up. I will purchase toys for them at the consignment sales but we must give something away to replace it. We do the same thing at Christmas. (Speaking of Christmas. If you have a child with the gimmes, it probably best to limit his gifts. We have to limit gifts because there are 6 children and not alot of money. But I have seen kids just get and get and get on Christmas and they get so overwhelmed. We simplify Christmas to make sure we maintain gratefulness.)

Sorry that I wrote so much. I didn't intend for it to get this long.
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