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Old 11-24-2012, 09:46 PM   #91
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Re: My kids opened their presents

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Originally Posted by mrspnut82 View Post
All these posts about taking away presents is upsetting. People would really disappoint a 4 year old on Christmas morning because he spoiled his own surprise? Kids wait for this all year, so what if they found out a little early.
Just have a convo with them, "now you know what you are getting, you won't be surprised on Christmas, do you understand?" Next year do not put them out so early. and if you do put them out before Christmas tell them again how you don't want them to spoil their own surprise, you want to see the look on their face when they see it, it's more fun that way. So do not touch them.
I put them out Christmas eve after they are in bed. They don't need to be tortured by looking at them all day/night knowing they are for them but they can't touch them. Maybe when they're older, but my oldest is 6.5 and still to young imo.


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Originally Posted by luvsviola View Post
This was how I've been feeling all day too as I've followed this. 4 years old is still really young. Kids that young don't understand the ramifications of their actions. I can't imagine ruining a little kid's Christmas because he was naughty for 5 minutes in November.
as well.

To the bolded - Best line in this whole thread! So true.

While it's true that some 4 year olds wouldn't peek there are a ton who would. I wouldn't risk finding out which my 4 yo is by putting them out now. Though if she's anything like her mama she'd totally scope out the goods.

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:01 PM   #92
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Re: My kids opened their presents

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Originally Posted by mrspnut82 View Post
All these posts about taking away presents is upsetting. People would really disappoint a 4 year old on Christmas morning because he spoiled his own surprise? Kids wait for this all year, so what if they found out a little early.
Just have a convo with them, "now you know what you are getting, you won't be surprised on Christmas, do you understand?" Next year do not put them out so early. and if you do put them out before Christmas tell them again how you don't want them to spoil their own surprise, you want to see the look on their face when they see it, it's more fun that way. So do not touch them.
I put them out Christmas eve after they are in bed. They don't need to be tortured by looking at them all day/night knowing they are for them but they can't touch them. Maybe when they're older, but my oldest is 6.5 and still to young imo.


It's a temptation that's too much to bear for some kids, I sort of liken it to dropping a piece of bacon on the floor in front of a dog and making them sit there in front of it for 5 weeks. I think the bolded is a good enough punishment for me. So they peeked, and now they know what they are getting, but they STILL cannot have them until Christmas. I tell you what, if my 4yo knew there were My Little Ponies in the closet but she couldn't have them until Christmas, she would hate it. Lesson learned. I wouldn't dream of taking AWAY her presents because of something like that, though.

Side story: When I was young, I remember sneaking open the corners of my presents and I found out I was getting two of the same thing. I was so disappointed and mad at myself because it was really hard to pretend to be excited both times. I was a little older though, so it was a pretty successful "natural" consequence for me.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:33 PM   #93
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Half the posts on this site are like 'they're just kids - let them be kids!!' and then you have 'let's punish 4yos for being kids'.

I don't get why in the world anyone would ever want to take such drastic measures for something so normal.

I never did it, but both my sisters peeked at their gifts every year. It's normal behavior. They're 4.

Tell them you're disappointed in them and leave it at that.

But the people talking about replacing their gifts with clothes and such? Really? I'm glad you weren't my parents.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:43 PM   #94
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Re: My kids opened their presents

Update:

So I had a little chat with my boys and they said they were sorry multiple times. I took the presents downstairs and hid them while they were having quiet time in their room. I explained to them that they will no longer be surprised. I learned *my* lesson and I agree that they are only 4 and I shouldn't punish them any more than I already have, I was a super snooper as a child too so I guess it's just payback. Oh well I still have a super awesome surprise for DH and they will still be surprised when they get their santa gifts.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:28 PM   #95
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Re: My kids opened their presents

I'm kind of surprised that so many other moms on here don't think that 4 is old enough to be held accountable for that. 1-3 I could maybe understand, but at age 4, they're old enough to understand. They're impulsive at that age, but they're also old enough to understand consequences. I can also see the major dilemma since they opened ALL of them instead of just a couple. If it were just a couple I would take them back and they wouldn't get those at all, but I also don't think Christmas should be completely over for them because they opened them. If they were a couple years older though I probably wouldn't care, they would get nothing. Maybe put them all away and let them know that your feelings are hurt and that you don't feel like they should get their presents at all because they opened them early, but give them an opportunity to earn them back over the course of the next month. Make them clean, be on their best behavior, etc. Every time they choose not to do what you ask of them or get in trouble, I'd return a present and then they'd lose that one for good.

In the future, like others said, you could wrap empty boxes to go under the tree. You can also put presents inside of larger boxes that don't reveal the contents (food or shoe boxes work great for a lot of things) and tape them up really well so that if that ever happens again, they're not going to know what they got still.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:55 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by peaches330
I'm kind of surprised that so many other moms on here don't think that 4 is old enough to be held accountable for that. 1-3 I could maybe understand, but at age 4, they're old enough to understand. They're impulsive at that age, but they're also old enough to understand consequences.
I'm one of the moms who would just move on. I hold my daughter accountable for a lot. I'm not particularly permissive. The other night I made cupcakes for our Aunt Kathy, just the boring cake part. I told my daughter not to steal one because the next day I would put ganache on them and we would all enjoy one. She knows how delicious ganache is. Before they could cool enough for me to put them out of sight, one was gone. So the next day she got nothing but milk while we celebrated.

But Christmas only comes once, and a month is a long time to tempt a child with shiny promises without any reward. Part of the joy of Christmas is giving, and I don't see the joy in turning Christmas into a teaching moment. Christmas is supposed to be magical.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:57 AM   #97
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Update:

So I had a little chat with my boys and they said they were sorry multiple times. I took the presents downstairs and hid them while they were having quiet time in their room. I explained to them that they will no longer be surprised. I learned *my* lesson and I agree that they are only 4 and I shouldn't punish them any more than I already have, I was a super snooper as a child too so I guess it's just payback. Oh well I still have a super awesome surprise for DH and they will still be surprised when they get their santa gifts.
Oh, nice update! Hopefully your husband doesn't peek.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:12 AM   #98
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Re: My kids opened their presents

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Do I read correctly that your oldest is 2 1/2? So, your oldest was about 21 months last Christmas? I personally would wait a couple of years before patting myself on the back for my fabulous parenting with kids who know how to listen and obey. 21 month olds are very different creatures than 4 year olds.
HA so true I could have set presents wrapped and taped candy all over with neon signs 2 months early and not had my kid touch anything at 2 or 3 she jsut had no idea... At 4 not so much.... Put two kids together and temptation can be hard very hard.
Ask your self why you bought the presents was it to reward your kids for being perfect all year or even above expecations? DO you want to dirrectly tie Christmas gifts to behavior.. Or are gifts presented and exchanged as a love language and often given in spite of not so perfect times.

FWIW I remember doing pretty much exactly what your boys did a little older but not by much I even attemped to re-tape but it was REALLY obviou to my parenrs though I thought they looked perfect. (they still tease me about this) Honestly it didn't spoil anything I was wrong about 90% of what I peeked at. Not that that made it okay or anything.

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I'm 31 & if you put my presents under the tree a month early, I'm going to look. I just know I will. I would take a peek every year until the year I was pregnant. My ex wrapped a present for me and signed it from our unborn daughter...and I felt guilty, so I didn't sneak. That year. My will power sucks.
HA yes to this as well, especially if the gifts are from my DH or my inlaws. I deliberly pre open ANYTHING from my inlaws especially stuff she gives to the girls as MIL is known for giving not jsut bad gifts but just disturbing stuff... I dont need to do damage controll on Christmas morning...
DH sadly while he tries comes up with some of the strangest stuff. I have a hard time not looking and reacting like someone ran over my puppy on Christmas when I unwrap a big over sized bottle of Walgreens brand shampoo.. cause he saw I was running out of shampoo.. I often peek cause then I can get over things and look "happy" latter...

4 years olds I seriously doubt are thinking any of this of course but obedient or not their impulse controll is still being developed. So yes I'd be greatly disapointed but I'd also just put them somewhere else for now let the natural conquence run its course and forgive the rest.

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Old 11-25-2012, 08:17 AM   #99
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I'm so relieved to see your update, OP! I'm really sad for all those kids out there who will have all their gifts returned for peeking at ANY age!
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:21 AM   #100
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Re: My kids opened their presents

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Originally Posted by twinmomstl View Post
Update:

So I had a little chat with my boys and they said they were sorry multiple times. I took the presents downstairs and hid them while they were having quiet time in their room. I explained to them that they will no longer be surprised. I learned *my* lesson and I agree that they are only 4 and I shouldn't punish them any more than I already have, I was a super snooper as a child too so I guess it's just payback. Oh well I still have a super awesome surprise for DH and they will still be surprised when they get their santa gifts.
Sounds good.. I do think (if you can) having them help make ammends is a good idea. About your boys age is when we introduce our kids to doing like the angle tree gifts or some kinda similar program. Helping them shop and wrap for another child might not teach them to not open their own but it does help to bring home to idea of giving to others giving with an open heart despite no tangible reward (no we get to see how suprised they are no gift given in return etc).

IF your a Christian family (I'll assume) its also a good age to start like a Jessie Tree which both helps keep Christ in those "gimmie gimmie" days sourounding the holidays and the small activities often done helps curb the "wait" for the bigger gifts.
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