Holiday Planning: Teaching Children to Receive Gifts Graciously
I can totally relate to this dilemma. I once stood at the deli counter in our local grocery for 15 minutes waiting for one of my sons to say "thank you." He dug his hands in his pockets and refused to give an appreciative response. I remained calm and told him we were not moving until he unlocked his heart and said thank you to the very nice lady who had given him a cookie.
It took 15 minutes, which seemed like two hours, but finally, he whispered, "Thank you." I reminded him that you must look the person in her eyes as you say it or it doesn't count! He lifted his little boy face with a precocious smile and said, "I'm sorry. Thank you a lot." I then gave him a big hug, and we each left having learned a great lesson: For me, staying calm with resolve wins the parent/child battle every time, and for my son, being grateful makes your own heart feel better.
When holiday planning, don't forget to teach your kids to receive gifts gracefully!
Here are some tips to help to pull your children outside of themselves and help them learn to be more gracious:
- Periodically help them clean out their toys and give unused items away to children in need.
- Whenever you see someone soliciting a donation (Salvation Army, street performers, scouts, etc.), give your kids a few coins to place in the bucket.
- Give them an allowance which comes from doing chores. No chores, no money.
When kids receive too much, their expectations become too high. Perhaps your kids have been treated so generously that they no longer appreciate the givers and instead expect the gifts. One of my sons once said, "I think when I'm a dad, I'll give my kids less so they'll love me more!" What profound wisdom from a 10-year-old!