7 ways to teach your kids how to receive gifts with gratitude
How can we teach our kids to receive presents graciously, even if they don't necessarily like what they've been given?
Watching children opening presents can be a nerve-wracking experience for their parents, who often end up bracing themselves for whatever happens in case their child unwraps something they don’t want. How can parents teach their kids to receive their gifts graciously?
According to Today’s Parent, you can start teaching kids about gratitude as young as 3 years old. That’s when kids begin thinking about other people’s feelings, and how their words affect others.
Teaching your child gratitude and politeness isn’t a one-time thing, but is a long process. Patience and persistence is key. Here are a few tips on teaching your children how to be gracious when receiving presents, compiled from PopSugar and PsychCentral.
1. Be a good example
You can’t teach your kids to be gracious when you’re not modeling the same behavior. Remember to alway say please and thank you, and to show gratitude whenever people give you presents, especially when it’s your kids doing the gift-giving.
2. Don’t focus on the gift itself
It’s the thought that counts, right? Drive that point home by focusing on the giver’s thoughtfulness instead of the gift itself. Avoid remarking on how big or expensive presents are. Instead of just praising the item, talk about how much time and effort probably went into choosing that gift. This will help your child see the value in effort as well.
3. Don’t let your child feel entitled
If your child expects to receive gifts of a specific cost for certain occasions, that can set them up for disappointment when their expectations aren’t met. Teach them that they aren’t entitled to receiving anything, and that each present should be valued, no matter what it is.
4. Let them give gifts
Get your child involved in the gift giving process by letting them select a present. This will help them understand the effort that goes into choosing a present, helping them understand how a person feels when they don’t appreciate a present.
5. Focus on feelings, not lying
How can you teach your kids to thank their aunt for that ugly hat she knitted them? When we ask our kids to be gracious for presents they don’t necessarily like, focus on your child’s awareness of other people’s emotions instead of telling them that it’s ok to tell little white lies from time to time.
Teach your kids how to respond when receiving presents by practicing different situations with them. You can even turn it into a sort of game—pretend to give her ridiculous presents and brainstorm for possible positive responses she could say to thank you.
7. Let them know they can talk to you afterwards
It’s important that your child feels comfortable talking to you about their feelings, and this includes their disappointment over certain presents. Let them know that they can talk to you about in private later. You might be able to exchange the gift, or help them see the value in the present.