Kids can get competitive and greedy over the holidays. So parents should think about ways to encourage them to think about this time of year as a time for giving rather than receiving. Here are a few suggestions for how you can encourage your child to think about the best gifts they can give their siblings:
The tactile child can tend to be a bit forceful about what their siblings like, and it usually is what they themselves would want. They tend to think in terms of activities, so encourage a gift that involves an activity with their sibling. For example, if little sister likes tea parties, the tactile child may give them a new tea set, with a hand-written note promising their company at five tea party playdates. This philosophy works the other way too, for gifting to tactile children. Give them a set of wheels and promise to spend an afternoon building a cart with them.
Visual children love order and things that match, so anything that can either add to a collection, or something they can wear or carry will be a hit. This is a plus for siblings, as something small that matches is just as much a hit as the larger, more expensive gifts. Items like a matching Hello Kitty pencil box to go with a backpack, red socks to match their favorite sweater or even a handmade cardboard garage, painted to match the color of the visual childís matchbox car will all be hits. In choosing a siblingís gift, you will need to encourage the visual child to buy based not only aesthetics but also fun and function, and not to get too upset when the gift is used and therefore loses its shine.
Auditory children are fair and organized, so their gift giving sense will reflect this. Unfortunately, they can tend to lose the personal touch when they do this, often choosing the same present in the effort to be equal. Solve this dilemma by giving them the same-sized gift box for each sibling and having them fill it with personal items for each child. Donít expect cards to be attached, as it will be the handing over and the talking to their sibling about each item inside that the auditory will relish most, and bring the most personal interaction. When picking for an auditory child, do your best to remember what they may have spoken about or asked for — even if that item isn’t a possibility, try to relate your gift to their request.
Taste and smell children will agonize over giving gifts. They will put so much thought and emotion into each sibling that they can easily become overwhelmed and stop, unable to make a decision. This is when you will need to help by putting limits on time, price or size. Be very clear that you think what they have chosen for their sibling will be liked, as taste and smell children will feel more anxiety about their gifts not being liked than liking their own gifts. When buying for your taste and smell child, think personal, imaginary or family orientated. Figurines, picture frames containing a fun together time, and magical-type items will all be hits.
Teaching our children how to show their love and appreciation for each other is a positive skill that will help keep them close throughout their lives. Making Christmas a time for this reflection will enable them to rebond each year no matter what life throws a them.
Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com.