Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Presents at Kid's Parties--When to Open the Gifts and How to Make it Go Smoothly

For most kids, the presents are the highlight of their party. Sometimes, however, it can be a difficult time for the guests since, after all, the presents are not for them. Also, children can be brutally honest and say the darndest things. My nephew, for example, was thrilled with most of the toys he received as gifts but when he opened some clothes from his grandmother he tossed them asside and said, "I hate this!" My sister-in-law was mortified and had to quickly try to make him apologize. It is important to talk with the birthday child before the party about manners. Stress the importance of saying "thank you" for each present--even the ones they may not love. Play "What If?" with the child to practice what to say if they already have something like the gift they just opened, if they don't like the gift or if there is any problem with the gift in any way (for example, if they have an allergy or are not allowed to have certain toys like guns).

When it comes to presents I prefer to leave the present opening for the end of the party but really,
there is no right or wrong time to open the gifts.

Opening Gifts Options:
•As each child arrives, show the gift to those who are present and keep things very low-key, down play the gift-giving and stress friendship and fun. This may be a good practice for toddlers, who are often jealous and want to keep the gifts they bring. Show the gift to those present, then put it away.
•At the beginning of the party, after all the guests have arrived. It’s wise to put the gifts away immediately so they won’t get broken or have pieces lost before the party’s over.
•At the end of the party, just before the guests go home. The advantage to this timing is that the gifts will be intact when the guests leave and letdown may be eliminated. It also lends a bit of mystery and suspense to the day’s events.
•After the party, for kids 4 and under. Some feel it’s too hard for young party guests not getting presents to watch the present opening.

Gift Opening as an Activity
•Have the guests sit in a semicircle around the birthday child.
•Furnish a receptacle (wastebasket or container) for gift wrappings and ribbons; see to it yourself that these articles–and only these–are discarded right away.
•Stack the gifts by the birthday child and encourage him or her to open them in order instead of rummaging through them for the largest, the brightest, or the best friend’s gift.
•Let each child hold the present he or she brought and give it to the birthday child in some order.
•Draw names from a hat or spin a bottle to select the order in which presents will be opened.
•Have the birthday child make a wish for the person who gave it and then read outloud the card and who gave the gift.
•Give the giver of the gift a small gift or party favor to open as the birthday child opens their gift.
•Make a note of the gift and the gift-giver on each card to sae for thank-you’s later. Or keep a list (or have a helper keep one) as the presents are opened.
•Open only the gifts from the party guests, not those from the family or others who are not present at the party.

What are some things you have done to make gift giving a smooth and enjoyable process for everyone?

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