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3 ways to manage your kids' expectations this holiday season

Counselor Dr. Brad Schwall says mom or dad can pull the reigns without being a grinch.

TEXAS, USA — With the arrival of the holiday season means - for kids - or the kid in all of us - presents. Wish lists. Letters to Santa. 

So how can parents properly manage expectations to make sure the reason for the season doesn’t get lost in the shuffle? Counselor Dr. Brad Schwall says mom or dad can pull the reigns without being a grinch.

“First, it’s important for parents to realize that this is a fun time," Schwall said. "But you don’t need the fun of getting gifts to be out of the perspective of the needs of our world or even our own needs as a family.”

And that can be the tricky part. Celebrating the joy of the holidays - and all the gifts that come with it, without it turning into materialistic overkill. Dr. Schwall recommends a few things to keep in mind this holiday season that can help everyone stay sane.

“First, I would say remember to have fun in giving, but base your giving on your values,” he said. “Secondly, allow your children to share what they want, to make the list, but help them to know the realistic expectations around that list.”

“I would also say to have them write down what they think others would appreciate," Schwall said. "So flip the list by having your kids think about others and what might help them even thinking about charities that they may want your family to give to.”

I love the last part - spreading the joy to others as a way to remind kids - and ourselves - of holiday blessings.