TODAY

TODAY   |  December 18, 2013

How to brat-proof your kids this holiday

Authors Amy McCready and Faye de Muyshondt suggest some strategies for teaching kids to put Santa in the back seat and think more about giving back this holiday season.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it's that time of year when many kids are spoiled with gifts but if your chish are more thankless than thankful, you need to nip that in the bud.

>> she is the author of if i have to tell you one more time and the author of social sklz for success.

>> good morning.

>> this all hits home to us. our kids are comparing presents and asking for things all the time. what's the first tip that's going to help brat proof our kids.

>> give santa a backseat and put the focus on giving. in the week ahead you have plenty of time for your kids to clean out their toy chest and put together a donation for charity but talk about who might get that gift. it's going to go to another boy or girl just about your age.

>> maybe have them come with you as you're making the donation.

>> exactly.

>> goodwill is accepting gently used toys.

>> some won't accept used toys for safety reasons. is there a way around that?

>> goodwill.org is one. baby buggy.org, check online for locations near you. also women shelters and consignment shops will take it.

>> but i love what she is bringing up and this lesson in empathy. that's one of the most valuable lessons we can teach our children during the holidays. it's that social and emotional skill and pretty pulling yourself in someone else's shoes. on that note, it's very important to help your child put themselves in santa's shoes and really doing the gift giving from start to finish. so easy for us as parents to go out and do the buying and the wrapping and the cards and all of that stuff. but maybe the gifts aren't going to look that beautiful but let them really experience the art and the joy of giving.

>> even crafting their own gifts to give to the people they love, right?

>> of course and making sure that some of your gifts are crafted as well. it's not just about the material objects.

>> there's another one you both point to which i love which is modeling behavior. so many times they put so much into a gift or it's this big buy and they put so much work into it. how do you work with your kid on that?

>> well, the key there is practice ahead of time. you can't expect kids to be grateful in the moment if they haven't practice add head of time. roll play with them key phrases they can use and practice over and over . when you get to grandma's house they'll show appreciation for the gift.

>> also the thanks isn't just for the objects. i have work shops in new york city and they're so focused on thank you for the nintendo ds or this or that but when you're talking about experiences or when people aren't expecting a thank you necessarily. so thanks for bringing our family together during the holidays.

>> and you both say that sometimes no is something that you have to tell your kids, even during this magical time of the holidays. you're doing them a favor, amy, right.

>> yes. you want to reign in the wish list. we're not going to get 15 or 20 gifts. narrow it down to three things and it's okay to say no during the holidays and throughout the years. that disappointment fosters resr resilience.

>> kids that are grateful have more fruitful lives. that's why i devote a chapter in my book how on to teach this valuable skill in life.

>> we have talking to do at home. thank you so much.

>> thanks ladies.

>> if you have more questions at about brat proofing your kids, head to today show.com.

>> brat proofing.