As the holiday season approaches there are many things to look forward to—and teaching gratitude to kids should be high on that list. It’s a time of year to gather with family, to treat yourself to a slice (or two) of apple pie, to relax, to travel and to treat your loved ones to everything from presents to hugs. But above all, this is the time of year to give thanks. It’s a chance to look around you, past all the bullcrap that stresses you out daily, and beyond the expensive things you wish you had, and to instead appreciate what you do have. And while it may have taken you your entire adult life to realize the importance of giving thanks, it’s never too early to pass on that lesson to your kids. Yes, even your crazy toddler who seems like he is never listening and who is begging for a Jeep Wrangler (P.S., he’s four) can learn a thing or two about gratitude.
Being grateful for what you have is an important trait for people of all ages, and the earlier you instill those values in your kids the better. According to author of Making Grateful Kids, Jeffrey Froh, Psy.D., “We know that grateful kids are happier and more satisfied with their lives They report better relationships with friends and family, higher GPAs, less materialism, less envy and less depression, along with a desire to connect to their community and to want to give back.” And this is the perfect time of year to get started. Make this the season for not only expressing gratitude, but also teaching children gratitude. Here are 15 ways to get you started.
- Show them how to give back. We know it can be hard, but try not to get so caught up in indulging your kids that you forget to show them how to give to others. You can let them help you pick some toys to donate to Toys for Tots, you can volunteer as a family at a local soup kitchen or hospital, or you can teach your children the joys of giving gifts to other people instead of just receiving the things they want.