As the recession drags on, moms and dads are finding ways to dote on their kids without opening their wallets. Fancy birthday parties, music lessons, sports leagues and gifts are being scaled back or eliminated. Even the Tooth Fairy has been put on a budget.
The pain is not limited to the kids. Businesses are also feeling the pinch.
In 2008, sales of toys fell 3 percent to $21.6 billion from the previous year. Children's clothing fell 2.2 percent to $36.8 billion, according to the research firm NPD Group.
Susan Newman, a parenting author and researcher, says parents
need to get used to saying "no," and she suggests they be honest.
Newman says "frank, open discussion is far better in getting your children's cooperation and easing your parental guilt." She adds, "The downturn in the economy is really an opportunity to teach our children to deal with disappointment."