Like many 3-year-olds, Kristina Watts’ daughter, Emmie, wants every toy that catches her eye.
“I started dreading taking her into stores,” Watts, 35, told TODAY Parents. “I’ve had to carry her out screaming and flailing.”
But this holiday season, the mother of three from Panama City, Florida, hasn’t had to haul any crying kids to the car. Watts’ trick is so good that Emmie even made it past the "Frozen 2" display at Target without incident.
“Take a picture. It’s that simple,” Watts wrote in a Facebook post that has gone viral with more than 53,000 shares. “Pause for a second, comment on the thing they’re pointing out, and say, ‘Let’s take a picture with it and send it to Santa so he knows you want it!’”
In Emmie’s case, she smiles for the photo, asks to see it, and then goes on her merry way.
“It’s magical. No tears. No tantrums (by either of us),” Watts explained. “Maybe you’ve been doing this for ages, and you selfishly didn’t share this tip with me… or maybe you’re like me and this is about to rock your world. For real, try it friends. You’re welcome.”
Of course, Watts doesn’t actually buy Emmie all the presents she poses with.
“The beauty of it is, she forgets. But in the moment, she feels seen and validated. I’m not just shutting it down and saying, ‘No,’” Watts told TODAY Parents. “She doesn’t even ask about them afterwards.”
Watts has been inundated with thousands of comments from parents who have had the same results.
“Yes! It totally works and and saves us tons of money,” wrote one person.
Added another, “I just started doing this and it works on two levels: It makes my daughter move along a lot faster from the toy section, and when relatives ask what she wants for her birthday or Christmas, I actually have the exact ideas to send to them instead of, ‘ummm I don’t know.’”