Kids are often brutally honest. Often that honesty is funny and refreshing, but sometimes it can cause hurt feelings. Many kids will receive gifts this holiday season they already have, don’t want, don’t like or just plain don’t understand. The social nuances attached to giving and receiving gifts can be a mystery, even to adults, but with a little practice, you can teach your children how to graciously accept any gift with these tips on holiday gift etiquette.
Receiving gifts is not something kids do every day. So, it makes sense that they may not know how to react when faced with an unwanted toy or game. You can help your child feel a little more comfortable by role-playing what could be an uncomfortable scenario. Have them imagine something they wouldn’t like to receive and practice what they might be able to say to the gift giver that conveys their thanks without necessarily showing their disappointment.
Let Them Know It’s OK
Let your child know it’s fine if they’re not particularly fond of every gift they receive. Furthermore, pretending to like a gift to spare the feelings of the person who gave it to them is okay, too. The concept of a “white lie” is something kids around four and older can probably understand. Dr. Julia Breur describes the concept to Psychology Today, “It is usually a small, deliberate and harmless fib, often done to spare someone’s feelings and to do no harm — its intention is to produce favorable results.”
Think Of Something Nice to Say
If your child isn’t comfortable with a white lie, can encourage them to find one positive thing about the gift and focus on that, like, “this is a really cool color” or “I think this will be fun to put together.” Remind your child every gift begins with thoughtfulness and kindness. Your child can always thank someone for thinking of them or taking the time to choose something they thought they would like.
Gift etiquette, like most everything kids learn, takes practice. Be patient with your kids, prepare them for possible scenarios. Remember the best way to teach children anything is by example, so try to be a gracious gift receiver yourself.