Gift Opening Tips
"Can We Open the Presents Now?"
Even the most polite children often turn fiendish when charged with cake and ice cream, making what should be a great ending to a special day disintegrate into a gift-giving shoving match. The birthday child can become so energized, he tears open package after package, forgetting to say, "Thank you!" If this sounds familiar, read on for some tips to handle overly-exuberant children!
Teaching Your Child Proper Gift-Receiving Etiquette
The day before the party, sit down with your child and go over both your expectations and his. If your child is younger, practice opening gifts by handing him a small toy and having him pretend to open it. Then, coach him on ways to thank the giver. You may also want to have him practice what to say if he's given a gift he already has.
Making Gift-Opening Time Fun . . . Without the Insanity
There are several fun ways to open gifts that help maintain a child's ability to focus on one gift at a time.
A Final Alternative
- Gift Hunt - Before the party, write clues leading to various locations in your home. For instance, "If it's a gift that you want, it's a gift you'll see . . . when you look behind the TV!" After the guests arrive, have an adult gather up the presents and hide them in the locations corresponding to each clue. When it's time to open presents, hand the birthday child one clue at a time. As he finds each gift, have him open it on the spot.
Gift Pass - Have the guests sit in a circle with their gifts in their laps and the birthday child at the head. Going one-at-a-time around the circle, tell each guest to hand his or her present to the birthday child, who stops to open each one before taking another.
Musical Gifts - To make the circle strategy more festive, turn it into a game of "Musical Gifts." Position an adult near a stereo so they can start and stop a song periodically. While the music is playing, have the children pass the presents slowly around the circle. When the music stops, the birthday child opens whichever present he's holding. Continue play until all of the gifts have been opened.
If you have more than 20 guests, consider having your child open his presents after the guests leave. Although the guests will miss the excitement of seeing their presents opened, it may be more practical. To show your guests that you appreciate their gifts, take a picture of your child opening or holding each present and include the photo with a thank you note. You may want to consider this idea even if you decide to open gifts at the party.