My stepson will be 7 in September and I am having a difficult time with him always asking for new toys. He asks multiple times a day. He will even go as far as to ask if he has been good today, if you say yes then he follows it up by asking if he can get a "special treat" aka: a new toy. I fully recognize that this behavior was created by my husband before I was in the picture. I'm sure he loved indulging his three year old with little trinkets but it's gotten out of hand and we both recognize that it needs to stop. I can't blame my stepson because he has learned to expect these things. But I need to know the best way for my husband and I to change our behavior to curb this problem. How do we handle these situations in a way that gets it to stop.
The great thing is that you understand how this came to happen Some parents have no idea how they created the very situation that drives them crazy. I have a friend that says her two year old screams in the car all the time. They took a long road trip, about 8 hours and the child screamd/cried almost the whole way. What she didn't realize is that she created the situation by giving her kid candy every time he cried or screamed in the car. So the child thinks that by screaming in the car he gets candy. They created a little monster without knowing it. I have done the same thing with my children.
It's taken a while to get to where you are today and it may take a while for your son to unlearn this behavior.
Start by simply explaining that you expect good behavior all the time, not just because there is a reward for it. When he is behaving reward him in a different way. Stop what you are doing and get down to his eye level and give him a big hug and tell him how proud you are of him for behaving.
If you need to keep some sort of toy reward in place, get a star chart and tell him when he earns 20 stars he gets a few dollars, he can spand the dollars or save them until he has earned a few more. This helps kids in more than one way. They get rewarded for behaving and they learn how to save and budget.