The holidays can be an overwhelming time for children and parents. Here are 5 tips that will help you control the chaos and manage the abundance of gifts.

Tip #1 Number of Gifts – Depends on Child’s Age
Base the number of gifts that your child receives on their age. When the child gets to the age of 10, consider limiting the number of gifts at this point. Children get overwhelmed very easily and can lose interest quickly. This simple rule also helps ward off the “he got more than me” sibling rivalry wars. Use this time to help children understand that less can be more. The more stuff one has, the more responsibilities (taking care of the items, keeping track of their location, one more thing to put away, etc.) one has. Setting limits and creating simplicity are wonderful gifts to teach children early in life.

Tip #2 Buy Gift Cards
Buying children gift cards is a great way to manage holiday gifts. Children of all ages can enjoy this gift. With a gift card, the child has the opportunity to purchase what they want and learn a little about budgeting at the same time. Family and friends can pitch in on one card, such as a VISA gift card, which can be used at various locations. No more long waits in the return line!

Tip #3 Give Them an Experience
Instead of filling up a child’s bedroom and playroom with more toys, give the child the gift of an experience. Take a child to their favorite theme park, to see their favorite band in concert, to a musical on Broadway, or on a mini vacation. Spending quality time with the child is a wonderful, fulfilling gift in itself. Together, you will be making memories which will last a lifetime…much longer than any toy.

Tip #4 Divide the Toys
If a child is bombarded with lots of toys over the holidays, take a moment to divide the toys up into three or four boxes. Leave one box out to be played with and assign a location for each item. The other boxes can be stored in a closet for future use. Bring a new supply of toys out on a monthly basis. The child will feel as though it is Christmas for months and months! Alert the child to the need of letting go of toys that are not being played with or that do not bring them joy any longer when a new box of toys is delivered.

Tip #5 Consider a Trade In
Give a child the opportunity to ‘trade in’ some of their gifts by returning them with the gift receipt and getting cash for a big ticket item the child is working to obtain. Another option is to have the child gather three to four new toys and take them to a place where they can donate them to children that didn’t receive much (if anything!) for the holidays. This is a great time to teach a child about giving to others who are less fortunate. The child will experience the joy and warm feelings of helping others…a priceless gift!

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