How do I teach my child to learn the gracious art of gift giving and receiving?
A gift by definition must be both given and received. Learning how to receive gifts with gratitude is a skill that must be taught. Remind kids that time and thought went into picking out their gift. It's important to be polite by opening the gift with a sense of joy and then expressing thanks. Skills to practice are:
- Look at the person giving the gift and smile.
- Focus on the person and the gift - not something that was opened just before.
- Say a big, "Thank you!" You can't stress this enough with your children! If they can't thank the giver in person, send a note right away!
It doesn't take much teaching for children to understand the "getting" part of giving and receiving. But it's never too early to begin setting a good example for your children, to teach them the joy of giving gifts.
In order to help your kids learn the joy of giving, involve them in gift shopping or making the gifts they'll give. Then practice these interactions:
- Look at the person and smile.
- Hand them the gift and say clearly, "This is for you. I hope you like it." Or "Here, I made this especially for you."
Pre-school is a good age to introduce the idea of giving to others. An effective way to teach children the positive concept of “giving” is through role modeling.
One way to role model is to adopt a family in need. Shop with your children for holiday gifts to give to the family. Encourage your children to pick out items for the other children, letting your child know that you value their help in buying just the right gift. Finally, as you wrap the gift with your child, talk about the person who will receive it and how much the gift will mean to them.
Parents should not expect young children to fully understand, much less embrace, the concept of selflessness. It's normal for young children to be selfish and enjoy receiving more than giving.
Creating excitement and happiness around the giving of presents is an effective way to teach the “Joy of Giving.” Some concepts are best “Caught not Taught.”
About the Author - Janice Ritsko
- Bachelor’s of Science in Education
- Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from California University of Pennsylvania
- PA Licensed Speech Language Pathologist
- Certificate of Clinical Competence American Speech Language and Hearing Association
- 30+ years experience with over 20 years in Early Intervention
accessAbilities First Steps Early Intervention provides a variety of home-based services for children ages birth to age 3. These services are designed to foster learning and growth during the most important developmental stages as well as provide support for the family as a whole.
If you have a question you'd like to ask our experts, please submit it using this form.