Many kids hit a phrase around the toddler/preschool years in which they want all the things. Toys you know they’ll never really play with, games you’re sure they won’t enjoy and items that are either too young or too old for them. Basically anything that is shiny or colourful.
(It is the most fun when this phase hits right after a birthday or big gift-giving holiday.)
The co-host of one of my favourite parenting podcasts, One Bad Mother, is going through this right now with her son. It had gotten so bad that he was melting down about wanting something new, “2-3 times a day, every day, for a while,” Biz Ellis said on the show’s Feb. 7 episode.
She was seemingly doing everything right: She wasn’t giving into his demands, and she was being understanding of his feelings while also explaining that he couldn’t have that and that AND THAT right now. But the tantrums were still happening. It was finally her own therapist who gave her the idea of creating an “I Want Jar” to store all his worldly desires.
The next time her son began explaining how he desperately wanted a new Transformers toy, she busted out the “I Want Jar” idea:
I say, ‘How about we write it down on a piece of paper and we keep it in a jar that’s just for the things that you REALLY want’ ... and (he) goes, ‘YES, that would be great.’ The jar is overflowing at this point in time but ... he knows that we know what he wants, (because) there’s a place to put it.
It’s particularly great for little kids who aren’t yet keeping track of what they want on a wish list but simply need visual confirmation that their wishes aren’t being lost or forgotten.