Advice for parents, straight from Santa Claus himself

He's at the malls. He's in the parades. Santa Claus is everywhere during Christmas. But what does he do during the summer? It turns out Santa and his helpers attend a Santa school in Tampa to get ready for the holiday season. 

They share wisdom on kids and the changing times, and much of that wisdom can be helpful for parents, too.  

"Everything from working with the families, posing for pictures, talking to the children," explained one Santa.  "The biggest change is that children have gotten smarter.”

A wish list can sometimes include other things besides gifts.

"They ask about bringing parents back together who are getting divorced. They ask about family members who are very ill. Can Santa fix them?" said Santa.

Then there's those coveted pictures with Old St. Nick. Santa has a special trick:

"On the count of three, we're going to going to look at the camera and we're going to go ‘Yeah!’ That look is a completely different look than 'cheese,'" said Santa.

And what if your kids ask for something that isn't a toy? Like maybe a pet?

Santa tells them, “If you are ready for a puppy, I'll leave you a little collar or a bed for the puppy to lay in. And if you're not ready, can I leave you maybe a stuffed puppy instead.”

What if their list includes too many things? 

"Say to them, ‘Well, if you could only have one item on this big long list, what would it be?’ Get them to focus," advised Santa.

Santa said parents can teach an important lesson to make the season a little brighter for everyone.  

"If you can, teach your children a little bit about the season of giving -- why Santa gives gifts and why  everybody should think about giving and doing things for others.”