“I asked the boys to find something they wanted to give each other (in secret), and told them that afterwards we would use some scrap paper and wrap the “gifts” up. They happily ran around trying to find things (my two-year-old usually came back with things that were way too big to fit into the paper) and I helped them fold the paper around the objects before they gave them to each other.”
“They also asked me to give them presents (and gave presents to me), so we all took turns sharing the wrapping paper and presenting gifts to each other. It was amazing how much fun they had with this!”
Handling gifts, a frequent childhood occurrence
Janice Kaplan’s story from her family is a reminder of the year-full of birthday parties to which kids will take all kind of gifts. Then there are the gifts kids are going to receive on their birthday and various holidays throughout the remaining months of this year.
My Aunt Alice likes to say that class isn’t wealth or beauty or education; class is manners.
Janice Kaplan says that the simple activity described above was one way she helped her sons learn the manners of gift-giving, and she is teaching them to:
- Practice thinking about other people while we choose gifts.
- Practice saying “thank you.”
- Practice looking for the good qualities of the gift (for example, “Wow that is a really bright highlighter!”).
- Discuss that someone gives a gift to show love to the other person, not necessarily because the other person wants the thing they are receiving.
- Discuss the possibility of not getting what you “want.”
- Remember the purpose of gifts, that they are a sign of love.
I like Janice’s use of “practice” because it indicates that gift giving and receiving is a skill children can use to express their love and appreciation. And when they receive something from us, don’t all of us like hearing those magic words, thank you?
Tweetable: A mom’s excellent idea for reinforcing the skill of giving and receiving gifts in her young sons. Here are the details. Click to Tweet