How ready are your children for the “big day”? Sure, their stockings are hung, the advent calendar is almost full and their teachers’ gifts are all passed out, but how prepared are they where it counts the most? Is the soil of their hearts softened with an attitude of gratitude?
As Christian parents, we all know that Christmas is not just about presents. Here at CfP, we’ve talked about preparing our hearts for Jesus, keeping kids focused on Jesus Christmas morning and trying to have a different kind of Christmas.
But most likely, if you live in our society, December 25thmeans presents. With all of the gift-giving in the very near future, as parents, we need to make sure our children are ready.
Most kids do not come naturally wired with good manners. We need to train them. Christmas is a stage on which our children’s good (or not-so-good) manners become obvious.
So what are your expectations of your children when they receive a gift? Do they know these expectations?
Here are 4 steps to gift-receiving that you can teach your children before Christmas day:
1) Say thank you and make eye contact when you are handed a present.
2) Examine the gift after it is unwrapped.
3) Make one comment (at least) about the gift. Even if it is underwear, find something to say about the present. “This is just my size!” or “I love this color!” are some possibilities.
4) Say thank you to and make eye contact with the person who purchased the gift. (Yes, you need to do this again.)
Role play is a great way to help children practice good manners. Place a random object in a shoe box and then have your children practice the exchange above. You will all enjoy a good laugh along with some helpful preparation as your child tries to come up with something to say about an empty toilet paper roll!
If you have very young children, a predetermined hand gesture may be necessary as a gentle reminder during the Christmas festivities.
And finally, don’t forget the thank you notes. Don’t let the ever-increasing price of stamps prevent you from helping your children thank those who so graciously gave to them this year. A post card thank you note that they decorate themselves is a great alternative.
Have a very Merry Christmas!