How to Teach Kids to Show Appreciation When Opening Gifts
By Liz Madeley
It is well known that children are not masters of their emotions. No one knows this better than the parent who has been embarrassed by the behavior of their child as they rejected a present lovingly given to them by a member of the family or a friend. We want our children to behave like the angels we know they are not like spoilt little monsters!
It’s not just about tantrum control, however. If they get something they love they also need to know how to conduct themselves to “win gracefully’. These are skills that will serve them well during the rest of their lives too. Here are some suggestions to get kids on the right track, before any presents are opened.
Keeping Excitement Levels in the Green Zone
Over-excitement at Christmas-time is rife. Keep a lid on it by talking about the real meaning of Christmas, getting kids involved with the preparations, making sure they play outside and use the playground to burn off excess energy and being calm yourself. There’s no better way to lead than by example. Which leads well onto the next point,
Show Children What to Do
Whenever a special occasion arises when you receive a gift in front of the children, receive it gracefully. Even if it is a pair of rubber gloves from your husband or partner, be sure to smile, say thank you and hug the recipient. If you are receiving a present from your children this point is doubly important it goes back to teaching them manners as babies and toddlers. When they are very young, it’s useful to thank them for anything they give you pebbles, books, flowers anything they pick up and hand over! They’ll get the idea.
Kids love any chance to get their parents involved with games. I actually remember the joy of convincing my father to color in with me a rare occurrence to this day! Play “Christmas Morning” and pretend to give each other gifts the game is that you have to say how my you love the present and what you will do with it. Pretend to give them a toy they’d love (make sure it’s not one that Santa isn’t able to give them), or a rocket, or something silly like a monkey. Among the play-acting, pretend to give them some socks or a shirt something that isn’t much fun. But remember, they have to say they love it!
This is one for slightly older kids, but make sure the younger ones are listening too. Before anyone comes with gifts, talk to them about gratitude and tactfulness. Explain to them that it is important to receive all gifts gratefully and not to hurt the gift giver’s feelings. Ask them why they think this is, to help the understanding sink in. Explain that it great to be happy about their gifts, but that it isn’t polite to gloat about it to their friends or tease friends who did not receive what they want.
After all the relatives have gone home and the children have received their presents gratefully, tell them how proud you are of them for helping Christmas to go smoothly and give them a big hug. It’s important that children realise they play a key role in these special family occasions.
Here’s hoping these tips come in handy and everyone has a smooth and happy Christmas this year!