Whether it’s a special holiday or a birthday, your child will probably receive plenty of gifts from relatives. While it’s very sweet of family to be so generous, sometimes their gifts can be hit or miss. Your child might love the doll from Grandma, but Aunt Sue’s sweater isn’t a big hit. Regardless of whether or not your child likes the gifts she gets, she still needs to learn how to properly acknowledge them in a polite fashion. If you’re not sure where to begin in teaching your child to be thankful, here are some things to keep in mind.
Starting from when your child is small and starting to talk, exhibit good manners yourself. Say “please” and “thank you” when you’re talking to the bank teller at the bank or respond properly when someone is kind to you in public. Make sure you show kindness to your spouse at home too. Children want to be like us so when they see us acting in good ways, they’re more likely to exhibit positive behavior.
Don’t forget to be thankful toward your child. When your child brings you one of his toys, tell him “thank you.” This goes a long way when your child listens to you too. You’ll be well on your way to raising a thankful child.
As your child gets bigger and learns to write, teach her to write thank you notes for the gifts people give her. You can start this good habit before she even knows how to write well by writing it for her. Be sure to tell her what each message says and make sure she writes her name herself at the bottom.
Even if she did not like a gift she received, it’s important that you teach her how to thank people for their generous spirit. If the gift isn’t something you wanted, it shouldn’t matter. What matters is that the gift giver wanted to do something kind.
You can also teach your child to say thanks in person, particularly if the gift giver lives nearby, but that does not replace a handwritten card bearing thanks. After some time, the positive influences of this behavior will lead to your child being able to fully be thankful herself without your constant prompting. While many children surely find writing thank you notes to be a large chore, once they reach adulthood, they will be thankful for this skill that so few possess a proper grasp on. It seems so simple, but saying thanks properly is an essential skill that we need to be sure our children pass on with each consecutive generation.