In this day and age of self-entitlement, instant gratification, and reliance on technological gadgets for human interaction, the most likely expression of gratitude a child may demonstrate is a “like” on their Facebook page or a “favorite” on their Twitter account. If this is true of your own child/grandchild, then it’s clearly time to take a much closer look at what you can do to bring back the fine art of gratitude.
Teaching children proper etiquette in gratitude and appreciation for a gift received is incredibly vital. To help your own kids -or grandkids- learn now to graciously receive and acknowledge a gift, here are a few tips to impart to them:
- Before opening a gift, always look the giver in the eye and smile. This may seem like a very insignificant gesture, but in fact, it’s extremely important. Eye contact and appreciation before opening a gift shows that the receiver cares more about the giver as a person, no matter what the gift.
- Express thanks before opening a gift. As another pre-opening gesture, saying “Thank you” prior to unwrapping a gift box shows appreciation for the giver’s thoughtfulness, regardless of how large or small the gift may be. This is, in fact, a crucial lesson to teach kids.
- Genuinely express thanks again after opening a gift. This cannot be stressed enough. Even if your child is disappointed in the gift, they should refrain from making any negative facial expressions or comments. Instead, they should graciously thank the giver or tell them it was very thoughtful of them. (The concept of “It’s the thought that counts” will eventually be ingrained into them. Better sooner than later.)
- Write a thank you note. No matter the size or cost of the gift, whether it was liked or not, or whether it was given in person or sent by mail, a handwritten thank you note/card is an absolute must. No ifs, ands, or buts. And certainly no excuses. In the note, be sure your child mentions the name of the gift and something they liked about it or will do with it. The more personal and sincere the note, the better. And the sooner, the better as well.
Gift receiving etiquette need not be a lost art. Teach your kids to be grateful when they’re young, and rest assured they’ll be grateful to you for that lesson when they’re older. Thank you very much.