When I take Annabel with me on errands, I will sometimes tell her she can pick out one small treat, but only if she’s well-behaved. At the beginning of every shopping trip she asks me about “choosing a present,” and I always remind her that it’s entirely dependent on her behavior. The good news is that she not only works hard to keep her unpredictable three-year-old mood swings in check, but she also forgets about getting a toy about 85% of the time.
When Annie does remember, I either take her to the quarter vending machines at the grocery store, or to the dollar section at Target. I prefer the dollar section because even though it means I’m spending $.75 more cents, the items there are random and what Annie picks out is always hilarious.
Some of the things she’s chosen include:
A sandwich box.
A sleep mask that says Study Break.
And oven mitts.
She always has elaborate plans for each item, which makes me happy. She’s going to “have a big game of frisbee with all of my friends!” Even though she’s never played frisbee before. She now insists on packing a sandwich into the box every day (getting her to eat it is not as easy as you’d think, though). She told me that the sleep mask will “help me see the stars when I’m camping!” And the oven mitts? “Mama, I’m a pancake maker!”
The cheap items give her hours of entertainment, which is awesome. I also like that she always passes over the candy and cookies in the dollar section. More cookies and candies for me!
The day she realizes the grocery store and Target have their own toy aisles, though…I’m screwed.
OMG HEATHER!!! Look at those eyes!!! They are beyond Beautiful!!! I just LOVE them & James!!!! Thanks for sharing!! You just made my difficult night a whole lot BETTER!!! Thank you my friend!! xo
Great idea! We are about to start some sort of allowance (b/c our 6 yr. old twins have figured out that there is a toy aisle almost every where we go). Hoping that allowance will teach them to save for all those things they want and behave (along with small chores) to earn it. . .
If you figure out a trick to getting her to eat the sandwich in the sandwich box let us know! My daughter’s sandwich comes home every day untouched in the sandwich box!
Annie is so freaking cute with her dollar items. Reminds me of me. LOL!
ANNNND…Yes, you are royally screwed once she finds out about the toy isle. James will know about the toy isle a LOT earlier than Annie, because she will undoubtedly tell him about this marvelous wonderland and that “If you’re good, you get to take home a toy!” You’ll be there for an HOUR circling and being pulled in two different directions because she’ll want to go to the pink isles (thank you Target for making the girl isles all pink and inviting) and he wants to go to the boy smash stuff. Then he’ll settle on one of those a damn giant rubber balls that costs four-effing-ninety-nine when you know they used to be 99 cents when you were a kid. But you give in simply because you’re tired and want to go home. THEN once that ball is home he’ll never touch it again only to ask for it as soon as you pop it and throw it in the trash.
Ha! I do the same thing with Dannica. Target doesn’t make it easy on us though putting that section of the store right at the entrance.
I usually have to drag my daughter away from the $1 section at Target… “I know it’s only a dollar but do you really need that?”. She is 23.
Ha! I still fall for it at 37!
What adorable children you have!!I love the dollar bin at Target too, they got some really neat stuff in there. I wish they would of had things like that when I was little.
I think Annie chooses each item probably the same way her mama chose items when she was growing up. Not necessarily about a “play” but more about an “adventure”. The study break eye thingy? I literally laughed out loud when I saw that.
I love that you give your children so many ways to explore their imagination and Annie uses her well and I truly believe it’s because you and Mike have such great collective idea – making that your kids naturally have it as well.
And making pancakes? You totally need oven mitts! Put the pan in the oven and out pops an upside down pineapple pancake!
Not sure how much longer you’ll be able to keep those toy aisles a secret (it’s like kids can sniff out expensive toys from a mile away), but until then, Annie has made some awesome decisions in the dollar section.
Meghan Moore says:
That is such a good idea!! I love her imagination! Growing up my mom always told me I had too much of an imagination. I don’t believe that is possible. I think next time I go to the store with my nieces and nephews, I will try this.
I wish I could still hang out in the dollar section with my two. My almost 5 year old tells me, “We need to go to Target. But not the dollar section- I want to go to the birthday party part.” Aka, where we buy his friends birthday presents. Thanks a lot, preschool!!
She is adorable!!
I love that section too. Lately my almost 3 year old has been into party beads (I asked, but she’s not forthcoming on what exactly is so fascinating about wearing beads), and since she also loses a lot of them, it’s nice to have backups that come from (you guessed it) the party section.
That is so cute! I reminded my almost 18 year old daughter this weekend about how I got so mad at a random, giving stranger. Rainey used to love the little machines that you sit in at the grocery store and the mall. You know the ones you put money in and they move and play annoying music. Well Rainey was so excited just to sit in them and push the buttons. This went on for about a year. One dreaded day it all changed because of a random act of kindness. Rainey was playing innocently with her buttons and other free gadgets, I sat aside watching and adoring my low maintenance child, when all of a sudden a man walked up and put a quarter in. The big bird riding toy all of a sudden started moving and singing…the buttons each made different noises and my 3 year old lit up with joy!!! The stranger stood by smiling and all I could say was “thanks, i think”. From there on out…I brought my quarters! I am sure she thought to herself, “silly momma didn’t know you could make it move”.
Keep her far away from the toy isle for as long as you can!!! These girls get more and more expensive!
When she discovers the toy aisle, you just set a limit to the price of the toy. We’ve set ours to the price of a 4 pack of play dough, since mine discovered the toy aisle at 2 (oops!).
Annie is adorable!
My husband gives me crap all the time about the dollar section.
Me: It was only a dollar!
Him: You got 20 things!!
You know I’ve never ‘bribed’ either kid for stuff. I bribe my kids with a walk down the toy isles. If they misbehave no looking at the toys this time or next time we’re out. Its worked for years, my sons 17 and daughter is 8. I dont know when I started with my son, but I’ve worked this way with my daughter her whole life. Both kids gave only missed walking down the toy isle a time or two each. My daughter lost a trip down the toy isle 1 time by not listening to my ‘we are not buying anything this time’ when she was 2. But I think it helps that I just never bought much for them when they were with me.
The hard time was when she asked to walk through the make up isle when she was 6 – that was the year she only wanted make up for her Bday.