How to teach your child to say thank you and be polite when accepting gifts

How to teach your child to say thank you and be polite when accepting gifts

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All eyes are focused on your child as she digs into a pile of birthday presents. She pries one open, grimaces, and complains, "I already have one of these!"


To avoid this scene, do a little pre-party prep. Sit your child down and tell her, "You'll be getting gifts. Everyone will want to see you open theirs, and it's nice to say 'Thank you!' even if you don't like the present."

Even so, it's unreasonable to expect a child under age 4 to understand the virtue of an insincere thank you. If you're concerned about whether your child will be able to be gracious, you may want to open the presents after the guests leave. Or you can smooth over any unflattering comments with your own thanks: "Thank you, Emily, for the doll."

Later on, explain to your child that making rude remarks about presents hurts people's feelings because people choose a gift to try to make you happy. That's why "thank you" is the only acceptable thing to say about a gift you don't like.

But according to etiquette teachers, saying "thank you" isn't the end of your child's duties. They insist that thank-you notes are a must – especially for gifts sent through the mail.

While this might strike some as overly formal for close relatives and friends, think of it this way: No one will criticize your child for doing it, but they might feel slighted or annoyed if she doesn't do it.

"It doesn't have to be fancy," says Sharon Paskoff, author of Easy Eloquence: Simple Thank You Notes and Sympathy Cards for Every Occasion. "They can draw a picture if they can't write, and Mom can dash off a few lines about how much they all liked the present."

Paskoff suggests getting kids their own personalized stationery – "even if you just print it off the computer." Kids who can write can prepare their own thank-you notes, but parents may want to sit with them to help (you might prompt her to mention the gift specifically, for instance, or explain what money will be used for, and thank the giver).

Be prepared to reinforce this habit until your child is fully grown. Writing thank-you notes doesn't come naturally to children, but as you can explain, notes make the gift-giver feel even better about giving.

By age 4, many kids can:

  • say "thank you" for a gift received in person
  • help a parent write a thank-you note

By age 8, many kids can:

  • refrain from making rude remarks about gifts
  • reliably say "thank you" for gifts received in person
  • write a thank-you note – with a reminder from you

Watch the video: Say Please, Sorry and Thank You! - Good Habits For Children. ChuChu TV Nursery Rhymes u0026 Kids Songs (July 2022).


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