Teaching Holiday Gratitude to Your Children

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The majority of parents are working diligently to raise their children in a manner that will produce adults of high character who will be contributing members of society. One of the traits that comes along with character and contributing to society is the ability to show gratitude towards others. Unfortunately, many children tend to be self-focused during this time of year as their minds are preoccupied with what presents they will receive or how many treats they will get to eat. These preoccupations can present a significant challenge to you as a parent when it comes to ingraining social graces and genuine thankfulness into a kid’s behavior. So today, we are taking a look at some practical ways to approach teaching holiday gratitude to your children.

Talk to Them Before the Holidays

While this season only comes around once a year, there are ample opportunities throughout the rest of the year to spend some time talking to your kids about what it means to be grateful and how to properly express their thankfulness. A simple conversation about how it makes others feel when they show appreciation to others for gifts, gestures, or other things they may do for them can sometimes be all it takes to help them understand. In other instances, teaching holiday gratitude may require you putting your child into someone else’s shoes. Try asking them how they would feel if they gave someone an incredible gift or did something thoughtful for someone else, and the recipient never acknowledged them or said, “thank you.” Providing simple guidance to your kids throughout the year can make it easier for them to remember these concepts when the time comes.

Be an Example

There are a multitude of opportunities for each of us to show thankfulness towards others during this time of year so why not use those opportunities as a tool for teaching holiday gratitude. Many of us are unaware of how many responses to social cues our children learn from observing our behavior as parents. Modeling the right way to handle each situation becomes critically important as our kids grow older and allowing them to see you being thankful for others. Don’t forget to show them that you are not just grateful for what people give to you or do for you but that you appreciate those people for who they are and their presence in your life. Allowing your kids to see these authentic interactions can help solidify in their minds the importance of people over things and aid them in developing a thankful heart.

Positive Reinforcement

As human beings, we all tend to respond to affirmation and encouragement, especially from those who we look up to or are in authority over us. When you observe your children showing genuine thankfulness or appreciation towards others, it is okay to praise them for doing so or encourage them to keep up the good work. Providing this type of positive reinforcement not only helps in teaching holiday gratitude to your kids but also assists in cultivating an attitude of appreciation. Character building can be hard work with a lot of missteps along the way, so don’t hesitate to positive and affirming voice when one of your children gets it right.