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From birthday parties to holiday celebrations, your kids receive a ton of gifts throughout the year. And while it’s nice to think that they’ll always be gracious and polite each time they get a new present, that isn’t always the case. Make sure your kids are prepared for every situation by teaching them a few gift receiving tips. These simple etiquette lessons will ensure your kids are polite each and every time they get a new gift, whether they love the gift or hate it.
Avoid a Feeling of Entitlement
Since kids are given gifts on so many occasions throughout the year, it can be easy for them to start believing that they’re entitled to presents whenever a special occasion arises. Before this expectation becomes ingrained in your kids, make sure you emphasis the fact that gifts are a privilege, not an entitlement. A birthday doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will give you a gift. A Christmas party doesn’t always mean presents will be exchanged. The sooner your kids understand that they shouldn’t expect presents, the easier it will be to teach them how to be a gracious gift recipient when they do receive a gift.
If you don’t offer suggested behaviors to your kids, they won’t know the proper reaction to have. Instead of getting angry at your kids for an inappropriate response in the moment, prepare them to act appropriately before the situation occurs. Have a simple discussion with your kids before their next party or celebration and let them know what’s expected of them. Keep the instructions simple – tell them to smile at the person who gave them the gift and say thank you. Those two easy steps are a great way to show their appreciation while avoiding any negative words.
Take Them Shopping
Whether you’re heading out for a friend’s party or shopping for Christmas gifts, getting your kids involved in buying presents for others is a great idea. It not only shows them how much thought and effort goes into purchasing gifts, it also gives them another perspective of the gift-giving process. After you have purchased the gifts, make sure your kids also take part in giving the gift to the recipient. This process will allow them to see a proper reaction to receiving a gift, as well as help them understand how a person feels when they’re the gift-giver.
Turn the Tables
Another great way to give your kids a different perspective is to ask them how they would feel if someone had a negative reaction to a gift they gave. Help them use those feelings as they’re opening their presents to make sure they’re showing enthusiasm and gratefulness throughout the celebration.
Teaching manners to your kids is an ongoing process, so it’s important to realize that changes in their reactions won’t happen overnight. During each celebration where presents are involved, be sure to key an eye on your child’s behavior and mannerisms throughout the event to stop a meltdown before it happens. Helping your child voice their feeling or frustrations in private is a simple way to avoid a public display during any get-together.
Gauge Your Own Expectations
Sometimes, we expect a lot out of our kids and are disappointed when they don’t act as expected. While it may seem like your young child understands the importance of gratitude, their developmental abilities may not have fully reached that level. Keep your child’s age and personal development in mind before worrying about your child becoming entitled or spoiled. Sometimes, kids are just too honest for their own good! Instead of reprimanding your kids for voicing their opinion, take the time to explain their mistake and tell them ways they can do better in the future.
Keep the Gratitude Going
To ensure your kids really understand the importance of gratitude no matter what type of gift they receive, why not keep the gratitude going after the party is over? One of the best ways to show appreciation for a gift is with a thank you note. After a party or holiday, sit down with your kids and help them write thank you notes to everyone that gave them a present. To write a great thank you note:
- Address each note to a specific person
- Always include a brief note
- Specify the gift and include one thing you liked about it
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re worried that your child may get caught up in the moment and blurt out something inappropriate at their party, it may be a good idea to practice. Wrap up a few gifts of silly items, like a can of corn or a pair of socks. Let your kids practice their reactions to those funny gifts at home so they’re ready on the occasion that the receive an unwanted present during the actual party.