If you’ve ever been embarrassed when your child has made a comment like that, you’re not alone!
Even though most parents teach their children “please” and “thank you”, they don’t even think of teaching the manners needed to accept a gift. Children aren’t born with knowing how to do this so you need to teach them some of the skills that they need to make it more comfortable for themselves and everyone else. With the holidays just around the corner, you still have some time to teach your child to accept gifts graciously!
Tips to make the “present” less awkward:
1. Of course it’s important to talk to your children about the meaning of the holidays and to let them know that it’s not all about gifts! But those brightly wrapped packages often make them forget about the meaning. They just want to see what’s inside!
2. It’s fun to get your child involved in your decisions in choosing gifts for others. You’ll be teaching some problem solving skills and critical thinking while having fun with this! Let him see that there is thought that goes into gift buying. You may say something like, “I’m choosing this new sewing basket to get grand mom because she loves to sew. She will probably think of us every time she uses it.” Explain that when you buy a gift you’re not always sure if someone has it already but you’re still thinking of that person. That’s the beginning of teaching them that they sometimes may get duplicate gifts!
3. When you talk to you child about receiving presents, explain that sometimes there may be something that she doesn’t like. Let her know that people buy what they think that someone would like. For example, “Aunt Becky will be buying a gift that she thinks you would love.”
4. Discuss kindness and not hurting another person’s feelings.
Do some role playing with your child or even use a couple of their stuffed animals and create a role play between them. Children don’t know how to handle all social situations and need to learn the ways to respond to a gift that they didn’t like or expect. The more a child knows what’s appropriate to do socially, the more confidence the child will gain!
5. If you took your child shopping to buy a gift for someone and they picked it out, you can use this in part of your discussion about not hurting feelings. Your child will usually be excited about the gift that they chose. Go with that moment of excitement and say, “How would you feel if Aunt Susie said this was yucky?” Then remind them of how important it is to be kind when they receive a present. (Even if it’s something that they don’t like or possibly already have!)
6. Don’t tell your child ahead of time that if they get something they don’t like, you’ll just take it back to the store. If your child has accepted the gift kindly, you don’t want them saying to the gift giver, “Mommy said that if I don’t like it we can take it back to the store.”
7. Be a role model for your child. When you always make kind comments to someone who has given you a gift, your child will see what they should be doing when they receive a gift.
Put in a little time and some prep work and give your child the skills to have social success! When your child is aware of what to expect, and knows what to do in various situations, you have helped your child immensely! Just think how wonderful your child will feel when relatives are making comments about what nice manners they have!