Does this scene sound familiar? A visiting relative brings your child a present. Clearly, your child is less than thrilled. They demonstrate this fact by making an inappropriate face, walking away from the gift, or worse, saying something like, "No thank you." (Other variations we have heard include, "I don't like this." "Take it back." "Got something else?") It is going to be hard to get your kiddos really enthused over receiving a pair of socks. But like most challenging tasks, practice and preparation can come in handy here! Try this activity to ease some of the parental holiday humiliation.
Materials: Holiday bag or wrapped gift box, array of fake gift items
Some suggested undesirable items:
Suggested desirable items:
clothing item with favorite character
1. Place an item in the holiday wrapping.
2. Before presenting it to your child you can say:
It's the holiday season. People are going to give us presents. Sometimes we will like them. Sometimes we won't like them. Let's practice being kind when we open gifts. When we open gifts, we smile and say, "Thank you." Let's practice opening some presents. They aren't real presents, but we can still pretend. Each time we open them, we'll smile and say,"THANK YOU!"
3. Give your child lots of positive reinforcement whenever they demonstrate the target behavior after opening a gift. This is especially true of the undesirable gifts. Depending on their age and language skills, you may analyze each present and discuss if it is an exciting gift or a boring gift. You may choose to further explain how it is important to say thank you even if you do not like a gift because you are really saying, "Thank you for thinking of me. That was kind."
4. Like any task, practice makes perfect! Doing this several times during the holiday season is a great way to ensure less awkward interactions later in the season.