ENCOURAGE KIDS TO SAY “THANKS” FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS

This is a great picture for a thank you card. My newspaper column editor, Amy Jaworsky, took it of her daughter Veda and family friend Jennifer Earl with presents Veda received from her at a recent birthday party.

Gifts, meals, activities, memories. It’s that time of the new year to share a big “thanks” to those who made the 2016 December holidays special for our families and kids. By doing so, we model to the youngest generation the habit of expressing appreciation to others. Hopefully they’ll grow into the “saying thanks” habit without our prodding.

According to Amy Jaworsky, editor for the Hearst Corporation and mom of two school-age girls, 13 and 8: “Acknowledging someone’s generosity is a reminder to ourselves of all that we have to be grateful for. The more we realize how lucky we are, the more apt we are to want to deserve it by being better people.” Good words for all, not just for kids.

Teaching her daughters to express thanks to others started on a practical level when her oldest, Presley, turned 4. “I was standing in the background at gift-opening time at her birthday party when the eager guests circled the birthday girl. It felt like a feeding frenzy,” she says. “They closed in, and it moved fast. With all the excitement, Presley tore through the wrappings, so it was hard to get a complete list of who gave what.”

That’s when she came up with an idea the following year to ask gift-givers to stand with her daughter while she opened their present, so she could snap a photo of them as they posed with the gift. Through the years, she has seen how both the giver and receiver feel special when they capture the moment together.

When it comes time to say “thanks,” she has no worries making sure the right card is with the right gift. “I have the evidence in my camera,” she says. “I print out the photos and we mount them to simple cards with envelopes. As my daughters grow older, they can express a more detailed ‘thanks,’” she adds.

Here are more saying “thank you” ideas:
–If your child received a holiday gift from someone who wasn’t present, take a photo of your child enjoying building with the new blocks, dressing a new doll or shooting a puck with the new hockey stick. Print it, and mount it on a card with a personally written thank you.
–Email or text a short video of your child saying “thanks” and using the gift.
–Encourage your children to draw a picture of the gift. If they aren’t writing yet, let them dictate as you write their “thanks.”

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