Now, I've only got girls, so those of you with boys may be able to send me an email or two & give me some hints...but I've got some quick keep-your-cash ideas on how to take care of these little buggers.
- Stop the treats! It might be hard to listen to the whining at first...but don't give in to treats or extras when you are out shopping. I know I have been guilty of doing the, "If you're very good, Momma will let you pick something out..." when I just want to get through a shopping trip without tears. Besides, if it happens less, then it TRULY becomes a treat & they might just learn to appreciate it a little more.
- Hide the toys. No, I'm not being cruel...I promise. (Not about this anyway.) See what your kids can live without for a while. You might come to see they do not need a whole toybox, a closet, a rubbermaid tub, a basket, and a backpack full of toys. If you hide a few toys for a while, when you give them back...it will be new & exciting again. If the toys always stay new & exciting, the kiddos may not ask for new toys as often (thus you don't have to say no as often...and keeping the crying to a minimum). I have a box in the top of the closet & bring them out when I start hearing how boring things are. While they're digging through the "new", I toss a few old into the box to bring out when the boredom hits again.
- Recyle the toys. I have two little ones a few years apart. Every few months (usually near a birthday or other gift-giving holiday) I will go through the toybox and pull out all the broken toys, the toys that have been outgrown (teething rings for a 3 yr old?? I'm sure it's not the favorite anymore), and anything that might be simply taking up space (happy meal toys come to mind). Anything that is still intact but too young for the current child I'll put away for the next. Chances are...enough time will pass when it's time to give the toy to the next in line that the previous owner has forgotten about it. If they haven't...just remind them that toy stores make a lot of the same toys. ;)
- Keep the Summer dresses. Okay, so this is girl-specific, but it's a good trick! Some of you might be tempted to put your boys in dresses just to take advantage. :) In Florida, we have fairly mild Winters. There are a few freezing overnights & just above freezing days...but for the most part, we can get through with just a light covering. Instead of tossing the Summer dresses (which have gotten shorter by Winter because of growth spurts), I pair them with warmer items. I find a few long sleeved shirts & some nice leggings of different thickness. I usually find the leggings in 3 packs, and they might come black, white, & red to a box. So the dress turns into a little jumper. I find tights that are fairly thin (similar to a woman's pantyhose), to thick...probably equal to a pair of cotton leggings...which is another excellent item to put under a dress as it gets shorter and your girls get taller.
Okay...much shorter list than last time...and probably for the good!