Preschool Etiquette: Opening Gifts

It is an exciting time of year for most preschoolers with many looking forward to opening Christmas gifts. Small children just cannot wait for Christmas morning when a bunch of gifts are set before them to tear into. The excitement their little faces when they open the gift they have been waiting for or an unexpected surprise. They show such joy just opening a simple gift. Conversely, they show their true emotions when opening a gift they do not like. Sometimes they can be quite vocal or simply turn their nose up and say nothing at all. The last thing we, as parents, want are for our children to respond poorly when given a gift.

The first thing we need to teach is gratitude. A child should learn that the gift is deserving of thanks regardless of what is in the box. The gift shows she is loved and thought of enough for someone to buy her a gift. This is a hard concept to teach but it needs to be reinforced. Talk to your children about what a gift really is and that it is not always what you want. The gift is in being given something not in what that something is. Do not expect your child to understand this concept right away. Simply reinforce it as eventually she will begin to understand.

The second thing you can do is talk to your child about trying to react grateful for every gift. Tell your child that since she should be thankful for every gift and since it would hurt the giver’s feelings she is to react politely and say “thank you” no matter what the gift is.

Lastly, to reinforce being thankful for gifts have your child write a thank you note to the giver. If your child is too young to write then simply have her draw a picture and sign her name. Write the “thank you” and send it along. The person who gave the gift will be thrilled and you will be teaching your child a lesson that will last a lifetime.

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