Tip: The Treat Box

Or treat basket, or treat drawer.  Where you keep the treats matters not.  The treat box is a tool that’s had great success in our home.  Scarlet doesn’t know it exists (very important to maintain secrecy surrounding the treat box), but her father and I do, and we use it on those occasions when we need to make our child smile.

It contains little, inexpensive thingies you know your toddler will love.  I always grab a few tidbits from the lovely care packages sent by Grandma and Auntee and reserve them in the treat box, along with random stuff found in the $1 section at Target, stickers, necklaces, bracelets, hairbands, pinwheels, kazoos, wind-up toys, crayons or pencils, coloring books or cards, or anything with owls or butterflies because my daughter loves them.

See all the different ways we use The Treat Box after the jump, and please share your tips with us!

The Treat Box

We dip into The Treat Box at times like these:

The babysitter has arrived. My husband slips the sitter a treat to hand to Scarlet as she walks in.  Child loves babysitter, does not cry when parents leave.

She displayed especially wonderful behavior.  It isn’t a bribe because you don’t do it every time so your child doesn’t come to expect it.  Presented as “Scarlet, tonight at dinner you stayed in your seat, used your napkin, and put your plate in the dishwasher when we were done.  That was so helpful for mommy.  Would you like to play with some new stickers now?” a small treat goes a long way.

After an owwie.  “Poor baby, that must have hurt.  Mommy will kiss it.  You’re so upset.  Would you like to play pinwheel now?  Look, blow on it, how pretty!  Can you blow?” Distraction complete.

The dog ate her cookie and she’s devastated.  Often this is because she gave the dog her cookie, so we are working on that by not replacing said cookie with a new cookie.  Out comes a treat, out goes dog into yard.

When your attention must be elsewhere.  “Mommy knows you are frustrated, you want to play right now!  Mommy simply must make this call (or sautee the onions, or whatever). Here’s a wind-up turtle, can you make it go?” Operation Entertain Baby = Success.

When you’re driving and little one wants to hold your hand or scream.  I keep a few treats in the glovebox for this purpose.

Do you have a version of the “treat box”?  What’s in it and what do you use it for?



Ellen Carlson

We have one – although it's more of a shelf… When I was a kid my mom always pulled something off the shelf when we truly sick. We knew it was there, but for some reason never begged for stuff off of it… Now I mostly use it for the same. Special days, sick days, need something to brighten a mood. I shop Goodwill/Thrift/Half-Pint for these items mostly, but the dollar section at target definetely saves us frequently!


Nice! I'm always misplacing the random little trinkets I find. Plus Clare still talks about the time they let her pick something out of the little gift basket at the doctors office. "Remember when I got the sparkly comb from Dr. Dhaliwal?" So cute.


There is nothing more beautiful than the dollar bins at Target. Also a good thing – the dollar store. I spent 30$ there on treats for potty training – worked like a charm.


Oh yes! Our son has sensory issues. If something is really challenging, it's nice to say you can have a treat for doing (x). I like the idea of distraction. I may just reuse stuff they have not played with in a while for that purpose.


I just came up with my own "treat box" for the car. My 19 mth old Phoenix only has about 5-7 minutes of car seat time in him so it hit me to get to shoe box sized plastics bins and fill one with snacks (so I didn't have to rummage in the diaper bag) and the other with toys. The toy box is filled with a sticker book (that I made myself) and coloring book,play-doh, a slinky, magna doodle, books, DVD player and stuffed Monkey. So far so good πŸ™‚


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