‘Tis the season for giving, being grateful and holiday gatherings. Are your kids ready?
- Does your child know how to accept gifts gracefully
- Does your child know how to write a kind thank-you note?
Or do you sometimes arrive at a family gathering with your fingers crossed, thinking Please let my child behave today?
We all have those moments. The possibilities of what can happen at a holiday gathering are endless! The key to being relaxed enough to enjoy the festivities is to prepare ahead.
Kids don’t just magically know how to accept gifts, their parents have to teach them. This 2-step pre-Event Plan gives kids a chance to practice what might happen, and how to react, but in a fun way.
How to Accept Gifts for Kids
Accepting a gift with kindness is an important skill, especially during the holidays. This 2-Step Plan equips your child with the confidence of knowing how to accept gifts, not just for the holidays, but any event where presents are involved.
The bonus for you – you are less likely to feel embarrassed AND no reminders or nagging is required.
Step 1. Accept a gift with grace.
First, teach your kids is to say something positive about each gift. Always.
“What a cool toy. This is just what I wanted.”
Be sure to explain that they need to have a smile and a happy tone while opening gifts. It is also important to spell out some of the rule-breakers: Never ask how much something costs. Don’t put the gift aside and not say anything. If someone didn’t bring a present, never embarrass them by asking where it is.
Game Challenge: Do you have tact? Teach your child to see the positive instead of focusing on the negative. Play the situation game with gift-giving. What would you do? Here’s a sample question. Then make up your own questions and answers.
Question: For Christmas, Aunt Millie gives you a sweater which you think is ugly. When she asks if you like it, what should you say?
- Thanks, Aunt Peggy. I love the colors of the sweater.
- I really don’t like this sweater. Can I return it?
- Toss it aside and ignore her.
It may be easy for your child to conclude that #1 is the right answer … but practice it with role-playing so they can hear themselves saying the right words, not just giving you the right answer.
Step 2. Write a Thank-You Note.
A little note can make such a difference!
It doesn’t have to be on fancy paper or formal note cards, though it should be neatly written or presented. Just like the gift – it is the thought that counts.
As a parent, we need to motivate our child to see the fun in writing thank-you notes.
Help your children understand that the purpose of a thank-you note is to let a person know how much his or her generosity and kindness are appreciated. It doesn’t have to be long – a brief, thoughtful note is all that you need.
Use simple steps to guide your child in writing the card. Begin by talking about the gift. Say something positive. Let them answer (at least) one of these questions:
- Have you used it?
- Did someone comment on it?
- What did you really like about it?
Close the note by thanking them for coming to your house or thinking of them. To end the note, just thank them a second time.
Game Challenge: Who can come up with the most creative thank-you card?
We often think of paper and pen, but there are other ways to convey thanks, too. Maybe your child likes to take pictures, or your teen wants to create a video message. Let them be creative.
Taking the time to compose a thoughtful note is an important lesson in gratification. To help you get started, we have a free thank-you note guide for your child (PDF).
Manners do matter – in big ways and small. At the holidays, with friends and relatives around, we especially hope our kids remember them! By playing it SMART this holiday season, you not only show kids how to accept gifts with grace, you are giving them tools for lifelong success.
Suzanne Wind is the award-winning author of The SMART Playbook. She is a mom with a mission! Her passion is to empower parents to teach the next generation social skills that fit a modern world and are the key to their future success.
Before kids, she was an international marketing executive in New York City. Suzanne has a multi-cultural background, having been raised in six countries and being introduced to four languages.
Suzanne credits her career and living overseas taught her the importance of using your best social skills, whatever the environment. Although customs may change from country to country, manners is a universal language.
She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.