Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tamera Pogin M.A. C.C.C.
Speech & Language Pathologist
No, I can’t tell you what the perfect present will be for your child this year, but I have been thinking about a few small ways to make unwrapping presents a little easier. I’ve talked with some parents that say that it is very difficult for their child to understand that he or she can’t open all the presents. Here is an idea from Kodak. If you have a digital camera and a printer, you can print out a picture of each family member for each present that he or she will recieve and paste the correct picture on each present. This is a more concrete way to make it clear who should open which present. Another idea that I picked up from a parenting magazine is to visually code presents with different wrapping paper. Mom gets purple, Dad gets blue, brother gets the presents with Thomas the Train paper, etc. These strategies might work with or without a verbal explanation, but there is more likely to be success if it is paired with a short story explaining the system or a demonstration. Here is an example of a Christmas Social Story about opening presents. Another idea is to look through past Christmas photos and comment on who was there, what happened over the course of the day including a detailed discussion of the process of unwrapping presents.
For some children, you might need to practice Christmas. This also works great for birthday celebrations. Wrap ordinary house stuff or things that already belong to your child and things that belong to others. Each person can unwrap a present and practice saying, “Thank you!” This game of practice Christmas can be repeated before and again after Christmas to help your child learn all the social concepts and language associated with the holiday.
Photo from Kodak.com