At our house, we have been practicing some gift receiving with one another. I feel this is a valuable lesson with little children, so that they aren’t corrected or prompted while they have the spotlight. “Say thank you.”….”Don’t be rude.”….”What do you say?” Preparation is the key.
To a child, its hard not to state the obvious when opening a gift…..”I already have this.”….”I’m too big for Elmo”…..”Clothes, again?!” Children aren’t trying to be rude, they just know these things to be true; so they say it. Sometimes the side effect of many gifts comes in tossing gifts aside for a better one. Truthfully, at our birthdays, we wait until the party is over. It gives us time to go over the gifts on our own schedule and write hand written thank you notes for each. Its more calm, and not so post-cake sugar crazed. Of course, it’s okay to not love a gift, but it is the adult’s role to help a child learn to wait until the appropriate time to express these notions.
We give this lesson before the holidays and birthdays, but it is a good idea to review it often. Gifts tend to come to little kids when life is a circus, during holidays or birthdays, at a time when there is a lot of stimulation. Regular practice may ease the moment. We like to play this after grocery shopping, which happens regularly, while many bags are handy. Often, we use play silks, a furoshiki, or reusable shopping bags. Then, we fill it up with things from around the house. The receiving child slowly opens it, looks carefully at it, and then makes on observation about it. “It’s purple, my favorite color!” or “I have a book about this character.” Go over the possible comments with your child, so that they are armed with some language for the big event. The most important part, the receiving child looks the giver in the eye and says, thank you.
Be sure that you model the same grace and courtesies that you hope your child to gain.
Jessie is a Primary Montessori Teacher and Mom to twin three year olds and a four year old. Jessie has a Montessori blog at The Education Of Ours, and can be found on Twitter.