Focus a child on gift giving

Published 9:59 am Tuesday, December 22, 2015

QUESTION: Are there ways to focus on gift giving as well as “gift getting” with children?

ANSWER: Celebrations that involve gifts naturally cause a lot of anticipation and excitement for children. They are also opportunities for helping our children learn how to be thoughtful and generous. The following are some ideas you may want to make part of your gift-giving traditions:

Help your children be part of gift selecting for others. As a family, talk about who you want to gift, about special interests and gift ideas. It’s a good time to help children realize that there is a realistic price range to think about in purchasing gifts.

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Get your children involved in gift-making. Children’s drawings can be put in frames. Home-made ornaments or jewelry can be wrapped in colorful tissue paper and put in boxes.

Children can be included in personalizing gift-wrapping. Gift cards that are created by children, with their own messages, are often treasured longer than the gift. Wrapping paper that is designed and colored by children make presents extra-special.

Start a family tradition of giving away gently-used toys and games that haven’t been used for a while for some other children to enjoy, perhaps to a thrift store or a church nursery or an agency that serves children.

Provide your children with a designated amount of money and take them gift-shopping for children who are less fortunate.

Have them decide on the age and gender of the children they are shopping for and help them discover what they can buy with the amount of money you have given them.

Slow down the family gift-giving. Let the children distribute the gifts to family members. Take turns opening gifts. A gift is much more than the item given; it is an expression of caring and loving. Teach your children to give hugs and to say “Thank you for loving me” in person or in writing when they receive a gift.

If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out and parenting resources at the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street S.E., Austin).