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Old 02-18-2013, 08:35 PM   #46
SCDisneyMom
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We've been going to Disney regularly since 2001, and DS gets a set amount of cash every trip to spend as he pleases. He can also bring his own money to spend if he likes, but once that $$ is gone, that's it for him.

When he was younger, he wanted to buy everything in sight and had his fair share of meltdowns in gift shops when I wouldn't buy whatever he wanted. On our first trip, I was very lenient and bought him a ton of stuff. I had no idea when/if we'd be back, and I was as enamored with all of the souvenirs as he was. By our 3rd trip, I was buying Disney items in advance from the dollar store to give to him. This usually did the trick and helped us to get through the gift shops without a bunch of whining. It can be difficult to stay out of the stores since many of the rides dump you right into one. The one gift shop I ALWAYS had trouble getting him out of was Pirates. From the ages of 3 - 10, I think we came home with at least 3 play swords every trip.

As he got older, he learned to spend his money more wisely. He still likes to browse in gift shops, but he usually doesn't make purchases right away. If he still wants an item at the end of our trip, he'll buy it then. We always go to Downtown Disney on the last day of each trip, so he likes to save most of his money for that day.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:07 PM   #47
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Whenever my kids ask me to buy them anything, anywhere, I just say, "Put it on your Christmas list." That has, without fail, always worked. I'm not saying no, so there is no argument, and 99% of the time, its some quick, silly, impulse buy that is quickly forgotten once they realize they can put it on their list (which, when it is time to actually do the list in December, are long since forgotten.)

So when we take our kiddos to Disney I just stick with the "put it on your Christmas list" mantra on a day to day basis, then on the last day we go to World of Disney at DTD and we tell them that today is a special day: you each get to pick out something special to take home. We have a $50 limit, but they've never reached it.

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Old 02-18-2013, 09:15 PM   #48
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I found some really cute Disney Coupons on here. Why don't you use those. I am pretty strict about buying the kids stuff. Unless it is a birthday or some special reason I don't get them anything, but at Disney I want it to be special and want to get them things. I figured the coupons work two ways. 1. You earn them with good behavior 2. you redeem them for things I decided you could get/I would want to spend. They have them for treats, specific gifts(ones I know they would want), balloons, tattoos and even specific dollar amounts.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:23 PM   #49
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On my childhood trips I picked out in advance what I wanted that was likely to be costly and smaller things I got for good behavior OR spent my own money on it (birthday, etc.)

My mom would talk to me a few times about how they could only afford to get me so much and that I had to think carefully about what I wanted. I had a few choices so if they didn't have a stuffed Thumper, I would have gotten Dumbo, or something else on my list.

My parents would also buy a few things that I seemed to like or other things that had my favorite characters on them and save them for birthday and Christmas surprises. So if you have problems saying no, think about buying it in secret and think about if they'll still want it at Christmas. That might help YOU tell yourself no.

IMHO, when you just give kids stuff it doesn't teach them the value of the item and they learn what they need to do to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do. If Daddy is the person who always says no, he'll be perceived as a big meany quite unfairly. Regardless of budget, it's a real world skill to know that things cost and that money doesn't grow on trees. That's not to say that you tell a kid he can't have it because you have your house double-mortgage! However, when he asks (or seems to want) something that won't last long - like a box of candy - explain that 5 boxes of candy cost as much as a small toy and wouldn't he rather not have candy every day but instead have a toy that he can play with when the trip is long over. This is pretty much how my mom handled financing for me as a kid. I knew what things cost in a way that was relevant to me AND I could make the choice. If I still chose the candy then I missed out on the toy.

A rule that really helped me growing up (and that I use anytime I have to babysit/substitute/otherwise keep control of a bunch of kids) is that a whine or a fit is an automatic no. It helps SO MUCH and really teaches kids that if they're unhappy, they need to voice it in a polite and intelligent fashion. Instead of just "WAAAAAAAH!" they learn to say things like "I really wanted it because I don't have anything else like it at home. It's my favorite color and it's really soft." Of course it was horrible sometimes as a child, but as an adult I'm glad because I learned to explain my feelings and it helped me understand the difference between something I just wanted because it was there and something that I wanted for more important reasons. (I got my stuffed Figment one trip as a child because I explained to my mom that he was only in the parks and I really liked the ride and wanted something to remember it by. )
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:35 PM   #50
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There have been some really good suggestions here. The best suggestion I agree with is the "just say no." Not being harsh, but as others have mentioned, you are the parent, not your child's buddy. I think spending money wisely and not always indulging ourselves with every whim and thing we want is a valuable life lesson that can be taught at a young age. You can guide your kids now to help them be financially responsible adults later.

We've always told our girls up front that they would not be allowed to purchase anything until the end of our trip. Otherwise, everything they see, they want. It teaches them to truly decide what they want and not just what they think is neat at the moment. I think they appreciate their souvenir more rather than getting everything they want every day. We only let them get one thing too. They are allowed to bring some birthday/Christmas money (within reason) to buy something else--still has to be purchased at the end of the trip.

We've let them earn "Disney dollars" prior to the trip (good behavior, doing chores, caught being kind, etc.) They then use that money for souvenirs.

Another idea: purchase some small dollar store items (Disney coloring books, light up glow sticks to take for the evening light shows, etc) or make certificates for Mickey ice cream bars, etc. to give to your children each morning before starting your day. Leave the items as a gift from a character. It will add to the magic, give your kids something to look forward to each day, and be far less expensive than purchasing toys every day at the park. It will help to satisfy that craving for wanting something too.

Yes, you have to exit many rides into a shop, but that doesn't mean you have to linger. Or sometimes I do...I let my girls play with the swords exiting the Pirates of the Caribbean, knowing they'll have a moment of fun, get it out of their system, and then we leave them there.

Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:52 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Murphy View Post
You are the parents, they are the kids. Simple.
Although that is the way I raised my own children, I no longer think that just pulling rank is the best way to handle things. I agree 100% that parents should set the rules and limits and stick to those.

However, I like the way today's parents are involving their children more and letting things be a learning experience. My children learned "respect your parents or else" and didn't question things.

As I've grown older, and hopefully wiser, I can see that letting kids in on why you have made certain decisions can be a good thing. Setting a pre-determined spending amount and talking to the kids about it is a long way from letting your kids walk all over you.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:35 PM   #52
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I set limits ahead of time. I have 2 kids and we will be going to WDW, Universal, and cruising on the Dream for 3 nights. I tell them they can each get 1 souvenir from WDW, 1 souvenir from Universal, and 1 souvenir on the cruise and that each can't be more that $20. So they each have $60 to spend. I told them they can spend it as I suggested or just get one big souvenir. That way, when we get off the rides and exit through the gift shops, they think carefully about what they want to spend. My kids are now 13 and 15, but we have done it this way since they were old enough to understand the concept of money and it works very well.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:38 PM   #53
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When our daughter (4yrs) sees something that she wants, she is allowed to 'put it on the list'.

1. She'll see some random $2 item and ask for it, and we simply say "ok, we'll put it on the (birthday/Chirstmas/etc) list!" She may walk down a toy aisle and point out a dozen things.

2. If it's something really special that we think she might actually remember, we'll get a cellphone picture of her standing next to it.

So we never really end up buying her anything while we're at the store, and we end up with a picture of the exact toy/trinket she is asking for her birthday... helps with Mommy/Daddy's bad memory.

This works really well for gifts. Not sure how well it will work w/ souvenirs.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:53 PM   #54
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I don't have kids, but I saw this idea mentioned on another board/thread.

If one of you has a cellphone with a digital camera, whenever your child wants something, take a picture of it. Tell them that you will go through the pictures the night before your last day in the park and decide what one or two (or three) items they REALLY want. Those are the items that you will buy before you leave.

I say cell phone because then those pictures won't be mixed in with a digital camera pictures and be easier to look through. (You can also take a picture of the store after you leave, so you'll know which one it was in if it seems like it's a specialty item.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:32 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Murphy
True.

You are the parents, they are the kids. Simple.
I agree. If my kid threw a fit, we would leave the park. Then again, I am the mom that pulls a kid out of a restaurant to sit in the car while the rest of the family finishes. Three strikes and you are out. No negotiations. It sounds harsh, but guess what? They only do it once, maybe twice. It is a matter of setting expectations and standing your ground. It is a kid's job to push and if they get an inch even once, they will want a foot the next time. Not their fault.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:42 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FortForever

Although that is the way I raised my own children, I no longer think that just pulling rank is the best way to handle things. I agree 100% that parents should set the rules and limits and stick to those.

However, I like the way today's parents are involving their children more and letting things be a learning experience. My children learned "respect your parents or else" and didn't question things.

As I've grown older, and hopefully wiser, I can see that letting kids in on why you have made certain decisions can be a good thing. Setting a pre-determined spending amount and talking to the kids about it is a long way from letting your kids walk all over you.
I don't think anyone's saying to just pull rank. Just that as parents you need to be parents, not their friend. It is one thing to involve kids in decisions. Giving them an option of 2 things instead of an open ended question. That always work well for us. But parents want to be cool and fun and think it will make their kids love them more. Then they complain their kids are bratty, ask for everything, are out of control and somehow think it is not their fault. Kids aren't born that way.

Some of the comments/suggestions are great. I don't think anyone goes to Disney with a "I will say no because I am the parent!!" every time. A plan is great for older kids but OP has a 3yr old and giving them a set amount gift card will NOT appease them. It is just delaying the temper tantrum until the card runs out.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:42 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Murphy
You are the parents, they are the kids. Simple.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FortForever View Post
Although that is the way I raised my own children, I no longer think that just pulling rank is the best way to handle things. I agree 100% that parents should set the rules and limits and stick to those.

However, I like the way today's parents are involving their children more and letting things be a learning experience. My children learned "respect your parents or else" and didn't question things.

As I've grown older, and hopefully wiser, I can see that letting kids in on why you have made certain decisions can be a good thing. Setting a pre-determined spending amount and talking to the kids about it is a long way from letting your kids walk all over you.
I agree with this also, FF. I think things like this are great for learning experiences. I did it with my two, and doing it now with my 4 grandkids.

My thought was mostly addressing the OP's thoughts that she seemed at the end of her ropes with not being able to say "no" to her kids, or possibly, more importantly, not being able to say "no" to herself.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:59 AM   #58
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Way back, in the dark ages, when my now 19 y/o dd started going to WDW, we told her she had 'x' amount to spend every day. She was 5 when she first went. Well...you had to see that child, at the end of every day, poking around the DxL's gift shop. She refused to spend her money in the parks because she might find something she liked better at the resort!!!
She would even go without buying for a day just to have more the next day. We would always tell her that we would buy her one special thing each trip..but I wasn't going to spend money every single day buying stuff that she would dump in a drawer when she got home and forget about!!
We have done that every single trip...upping the amount as she got older. Worked just fine.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:08 AM   #59
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Our children have grown up going to Disney. By the time they were 5, we always used a set amount for them. We would allow them to buy what they wanted but would let them know what they would have left after they bought whatever it was. Many times they would decide that they'd much rather save it for something better. Now, DS just turned 18 and DD is 12 they make wise decisions. Still given a certain amount and anything over is on them. Although we still buy each a shirt or sweatshirt.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:37 AM   #60
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When we go to Disneyland our young kids are told they will get 1 thing at the end of the trip so keep your eyes peeled and choose what you want to buy the last day.
Our extended family usually has great success taking the opposite approach. If the kids buy something the first day, early, then they have something to play with already and are far less intersted in looking at other things. It works especially well if the thing is small and something everyone gets- so they can play together. Like one trip we all bought inexpensive charms. It was a rainy day, and we all had on windbreaker raincoats. Everyone put one on their zipper pull. We got a ton of bang for that buck.

I can't say we're a huge fan of the dollar store per say, but we have been known to bring plenty of items from home. It is great fun, if youa re staying on preoperty, and even if you are not- to play witha Disney doll or stuffed animal in the room. This is another GREAT reason to buy something early. Usually, if you leave something like dolls or stuffed animals in your hotel room the staff wuill do somehting cute with it. I've even seen it at offsite resorts.
You may come back to find Mickey watching tv - say. If a child discovers such poses....they are absolutely going to gravitate towards playing with that toy. If you bring a Mickey from home, then you remove the temptation to buy another one.

Another travel toy I love is somethign like a magnetic drawing board. There are SO many things you can do with such a device. As an adult, you could even use it to make yourself a reminder note.

Oh, there are lots of freebie toys at WDW. In Epcot, do the Kidcot stations. They are great freebies, anda wonderful way to distract kids. Pressed pennies are alos great for avertain age group. Also, all over WDW, your children will get free coloring pages. Look for them in resort lobbies, and at places like resort food courts. You also may find staff handing out free stickers at various places. near RNRC, there is - or used to be a station that gave out free sitckers. Autograph boos are another relatively inexpensive, somewhat educational thing fr children that age. you don' have tostop for every character, just a few. You don't have to buy a book at WDW, you can bring a notebook. (thoughWDw ones are kinda special)

It's also possible to shuttle kids quickly through the ride exit gift shops. You can also avoid entering many gift shops. Evne though the kids are young, you can also set a price limit on what they get. Maybe the 3 year old won't understand a hard number but they will understand if you tell them they can only get 'something small.'

then agian... we usually cut the kids a little slack if they opt for somethign educational. One favorite gift shop is the one in Japan. We've gotten sme excellent stuff there. another thing to consider, is having the kids look specifically for somethign they must share- either among themsleves or witha friend back home. so maybe they buy a pack of stickers. another favorite gift shop is the one fot Star Tours. Lots of inexpensive thgins there.

Oh - in the things to bring category- check out the party isle. Much of it is junk, but you an get inexpensive temp tattoos, and sometimes decent enough stuff.

LAst- and this is of two minds. One part says, you are pitting a child against master marketers. the other suggestion- before you go- tell the chld that the trip itself is the treat. Remind them of the fun things they are getting to do. My parents used to always say, "You are lucky you are here." We hated that line...but respect the point it made. Maybe one time remind them that they are at WDW, while their best friend is back home. Again, I think it's wise to have them pick out something to give away. Without nagging, it gets them thinking about the idea that they are at WDW while their friend is not.

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