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Advice for parents of kids who are asking for a lot this holiday season

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December 16, 2013 3:49:14 PM PST
As parents, we can all agree the holidays are stressful and not exactly cheap. With those long lists to Santa, the entire season can seem a bit overwhelming.

But it is important to take a breather every now and then and remind ourselves and our children what this season is truly about.

For younger kids the issue can be quantity, all those little toys can add up quickly.

For tweens and teens, the big ticket items like Go Pro and iPhones cost close to $300.

So how do you balance encouraging the seasonal excitement while keeping realistic expectations?

"Santa has to donate to other children that needs things, so he only has enough to give children half of what they ask for and the other half goes to children who don't have as much," parent Halley Beam of Willingboro, New Jersey said.

Child psychologist Elizabeth Gosch says a retail-driven culture often causes parents to stress more than their children about how much is under the tree.

'Some of them deal with it by giving too much to their child, things they can't afford so they can avoid feeling that disappointment and can make sure their child is accepting and loves them," Gosch said.

Gosch adds although it can be a difficult or uncomfortable discussion, teaching children how to deal with disappointment, or, more importantly, limitations is not only an important holiday lesson, but an important life lesson.

Gosch adds it is important for parents to remember what truly makes a child happy.

"Not buy them stuff, but make them feel like they are in a safe, warm and loving home; that in itself will make them feel safe and secure," Gosch said.

And although young children can't understand budget limitations, parents should from a young age, teach them the joy of giving, not just receiving.

Gosch recommends baking cookies for friends, family and neighbors.

"Go through their toys and give away toys to others who may make a good home for them," Gosch said.

As the children get old, Gosch recommends volunteering in the community and working on acts of kindness as a family.

And if there is a high priced gadget that they have their heart set on, maybe sharing that particular gift with a sibling or start saving earlier on in the season and work to purchase the gift together.


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