The Practicing Parent: How to avoid going overboard on gifts

In a parenting magazine survey, 60-percent of moms confessed-their kids are spoiled. And this time of year is the prime time for spending too much on the kids.

In fact, last year parents spent about $271 per child during the holidays. It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but when kids don't get the gifts they want it could go into meltdown mode.

As a parent of three, Connie Ribera has learned to set limits.

"It can be a little overwhelming," Ribera said.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kate Roberts says parents should try to budget and talk to the kids early on.

"Depending on their age, about what's realistic and what's not," Dr. Roberts said.

For teens, Dr. Roberts suggests letting them know their budget, and have them give you their top five choices-knowing they will get some, not all of them.

"Teens need to understand that these things don't just come out of thin air, parents have to pay for them," Dr. Roberts said.

When it comes to tweens, have them give choices and start early in the season setting realistic expectations. Don't just set a cash limit, but also set a gift limit, like one big gift and three small gifts.

"Try and really focus on other things besides, you know, possessions and material items at the holidays," Roberts said.

Keeping a smile on the little one's face is a bit easier, and Dr. Roberts says it's the perfect age to begin setting limits.

If relatives and friends overindulge, make sure to take time opening gifts. She says this will help them slow down and enjoy each individual gift and allow you time to enjoy the season as well.

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