Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gift Giving Time

Did you ever give a present to a young child only to see them rip open the package and quickly abandon that carefully selected gift you purchased or made? Or worse yet, observe your own child as they did this to a gift from a grandparent, relative or friend? It often leaves parents in the embarrassing role of giving a quick thank you and assuring the giver that the present was appreciated and would indeed be put to good use.

I heard recently about a mom who experienced that embarrassment with her children once too often and took steps to correct the behavior. She instituted a game with her young children to let them practice both giving and graciously receiving gifts. She gave each of them an empty gift bag and let them find an object in the house to “give” their sibling. The other child did not actually get to keep the item, but just used it for the play activity. When one child gave the other one the filled gift bag, the recipient had to say “thank you” and then give a sincere compliment about the gift when he took it out of the bag. This might range from a comment about it being his favorite color to how he was going to put it to use.

The children opened their gift bags one at a time instead of ripping into them and became adept at giving positive comments regardless of how unusual the “gift” might be. The mother also found, in addition to teaching manners, the game taught her children the fun in giving gifts to others.

What a great idea and a fun activity for the whole family. It might be something you will want to try before attending a big family gathering this holiday season. Happy gift-giving!

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