No one wants to be thinking about being a parent on Christmas morning. Yet the job never ever goes away. (Perhaps that’s the fun and attraction of becoming a grandparent. ;-))

The parents in this video have done a stupendously good thing. They have given their child a book for a Christmas present. Books being part of every gift giving occasion is a great way to build a love for books and encourage literacy. The positive experience and emotions get paired with the books, thereby “teaching” that books are good and fun and enjoyable.

But what happens when the best laid plan goes awry? When the giftee hasn’t quite made the connection yet? What then?

First, you keep a straight face and you are quiet. The more you react, especially in a positive manner such as laughing and making a fuss about “how cute,” the more you reinforce the behavior you don’t want!

Second, this principle applies to most behaviors. If you want the behavior repeated, pay attention to it. If you don’t want it repeated, ignore it. It’s a simple rule of human learning that works throughout our lives.

Finally, maybe that particular Christmas morning wasn’t the time for whatever reasons, but at some point, a child needs to hear that “it” is a gift, gifts are given because someone thought you would like it, and even if you don’t like it, you smile and say thank you.

Remember, though, stifle the giggles when a kiddo does something you don’t want to see repeated, no matter how funny or cute it is. You’re doing you both a favor–and you can always laugh about it later, out of sight and hearing!

Hope your holidays were blessed,

Babette

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