My Child Doesn't Say Thank You

My Child Doesn't Say Thank You

Sometimes it can be embarrassing when your child is given a gift and doesn’t say thank you. Or worse still, makes a rude comment. “I don’t want this.’ ‘I don’t like blue.’ ‘This card game is stupid.’

Some children are naturally grateful and verbal. Others are easily coached in gratitude and will quickly learn to say thank you. Some do not understand gratitude and forget to say thank you, almost every time. If you are reading this, you may feel you’ve told your child a million times to say thank you. And your child just doesn’t get it.

Developing a grateful attitude will be covered in the next blog post. This post discusses an idea specifically for increasing the chances your child will thank others for gifts. It is especially helpful for younger children such as preschoolers through mid-elementary age. Slightly older children may also respond well, partly because they will see the humor in doing this exercise at their age. It is also useful for children with special needs such as inflexibility, poor social skills, or black and white thinking.

To help your child remember to say thank you, begin by explaining that it is polite to say thank you when receiving a gift. Talk about times that gifts were given or received by your child or yourself. Explore how you each felt. Then talk about an upcoming occasion when your child is likely to receive a gift. Perhaps a birthday. Describe in great detail what will occur. For example, “After we visit with grandma and grandpa, we’ll have cake and ice cream. Then they will give you your present. You can unwrap the present to see what it is. Then look right at them and say ‘thank you.’ Be sure to use a medium voice. Too soft and they won’t hear you.

The next, very important step is to practice. Let it be a pretend game. ‘Let’s pretend it’s your birthday!’ Give the child a pretend present and let them open it and say thank you. The key to this idea is practice. Do this pretend game several times before the gift giving occasion. Focusing attention on saying thank you for gifts increases the child’s awareness of this expectation. It may seem like this idea is almost too simple. However, practice is very different from reminders and can be quite effective in helping a child say thank you when receiving a gift.

Hopefully you will see the thank you’s become more natural as your child continues to practice.


Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.