Gift wrapping. Hours of careful effort and all too often the paper and bags are tossed aside in the blink of an eye. Kids and chaos may go hand in hand, but if you slow down when it’s time to unwrap gifts, you can draw your kids into a mindful awareness of the joy of giving.
Open One at a Time
It’s simple, but opening presents one at a time slows kids down and encourages them to appreciate each gift. When the whole family watches, anticipates, and celebrates the gift along with a child, it makes the experience more special. To really encourage their focus, ask kids what they love about each present and what they’re excited to do with it.
Space It Out
If you don’t normally spread opening presents over several days, think about breaking up your one big gift day. You can open a few gifts, then allow kids time to enjoy them before breaking for a meal or snack and moving on to the next bunch. So what if the kids get busy playing and your gift opening spills over to the next day? Chances are they’ll love it.
Make It Theirs
When kids are active gift givers, it slows the whole family down. Let them pick out a gift for a parent, grandparent, or sibling and help them wrap it, even if that just means putting it in a plain paper bag that they decorate with markers and stickers. They’ll look forward to watching the special recipient unwrap their gift, and their attention will shift from tearing into their own presents to putting their gift in someone’s hands and seeing the reaction.
Managing your kids’ desire to race from one gift to the next can be challenging, but remember—you have much more influence than you think. How the adults open their presents sets the tone. Your kids may groan as the grown-ups take time to appreciate the gift tag, the wrapping paper, the gift, and the person who gave it, but eventually they’ll discover the joy of mindful unwrapping, too.