Last year, we got together with my husband’s family for Christmas. All of our children are older, but my nephew had recently married a great woman with a young son, and they had also had a baby together. On Christmas day, we gathered to open gifts. The children were so excited. The first present the young boy opened was not an X-Box or iPhone or a big ticket item. It was a bag of white gym socks. Without missing a beat, he exclaimed enthusiastically, “Wow! socks. Just what I always wanted!!”.
I was impressed to see a young child with such great manners. It doesn’t always go that smoothly when someone gets a present that’s not cool, they may not want or already have. So that’s how I got the idea for this intervention. Learning to say, Thank you”, even if you don’t get what you expect or desire. This takes acknowledging one’s own feelings, having impulse control and awareness of others. Since most of the classrooms I visit have Smart Boards available, I made an interactive intervention to work this goal.
First we sang the following “Thank You” Song.
Then students took turns going up to the Smart Board and “rolling the dice”. In the video below, you’ll see one of the interactive dice I made with images of items that are great and not so great.
After each student took a turn, I would ask them what they would say if they got this gift? Saying, “Thank you”, wasn’t always easy. It’s important to let clients process how they are feeling and give them another opportunity if they don’t succeed the first time. After one student rolled the die and received a pair of gloves, she refused to say, “Thank you”, and went to the back of the room and cried a little. She saw her peers go up and laugh at some of the bad gifts (i.e. ugly clown sweater) and still give thanks. She asked for another turn later and rolled a hat and scarf. She immediately said, “Thank you”. I asked her if she liked the hat and scarf and she said, “No”. I can’t fault her honesty!
One word of caution/advice…. make sure your clients know that this is a game and that they aren’t really getting the items they roll on the dice!!