Mommy Monday: Cut Your Costs at Christmas

BOSTON (Ivanhoe Newswire) - 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.

"It can be a little overwhelming," parent Connie Ribera told Ivanhoe. As a parent of three, Ribera has learned to set limits.

"What [parents] really have to do early on is really try to budget and talk to the kids, depending on their age, about what's realistic and what's not," clinical psychologist and parent coach Dr. Kate Roberts told Ivanhoe.

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 you 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 ones.

"Try and really focus on other things besides, you know, possessions and materials items at the holidays," Dr. 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.

"They can ask for anything they want as long as it is safe and age appropriate but honestly most of that stuff I am not buying for them," parent Elizabeth Wayland-Seal told Ivanhoe.

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