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Parenting Advice | Gift-Giving | Holiday Stress

How Not To Spoil Your Kids This Holiday

Parenting tips for the holiday season.

by Emily Frost

December 9, 2009

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It’s a perennial parenting problem: how to make it through December without losing the holiday spirit in piles of stuff. Babble got some tips from Mike Raciti, a psychologist and CEO of Sobel & Raciti Associates, an Employee Assistance Program in Providence, R.I. that gives seminars on holiday stress and gift giving to staffs of large and small companies. – Emily Frost

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Set realistic gift expectations

Before the holidays, talk to your children about their wish lists. With Hanukkah, it’s easy to give one gift on each of the eight nights of the holiday. But parents celebrating Christmas can also impose limits by telling kids that they will receive, say, seven presents from their list - or whatever number feels right to you.

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Make an agreement with your extended family to buy only one gift per child

Not only will this save everyone money, but it will keep children from getting overwhelmed with presents. Remember: little kids have as much fun playing with wrapping paper and crawling into boxes as they do with their shiny new toys.

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Emphasize the joy in gift giving

Help your child create or buy a gift for close family members. Select a beautiful picture frame and a great family photo, for example, to give to Grandma on Christmas morning. Or, have your child make “coupons” for non-material gifts such as making Dad breakfast in bed.

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Enlist your child’s help selecting your family’s charitable gift

One organization likely to capture a child’s imagination is Heifer International, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating hunger, which offers a catalog full of barnyard animals you can purchase for struggling families across the globe. Your kids will also love Kaboom! - and not just for its fun name - an organization committed to building a playground within walking distance of every child in the United States.

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Focus on activities more than gifts

Create memories by taking a family trip to cut down the Christmas tree or making Grandma’s famous latkes together. These moments, which have nothing to do with material goods, will help teach them that the holidays are about togetherness, not just Lego sets and American Girl dolls.

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This article was written by Emily Frost for Babble.com, the magazine and community for a new generation of parents.

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