The holiday season has begun! The hustle and bustle of traditions, traveling, gift giving and food preparation makes this season seem like a blur. However, one thing I slow down and focus on during the season is teaching my children the value of gratitude and what it means to be grateful.
In our family we try our best to keep life simple, and pick a few important things to say yes to, and no to anything that stresses us out. We also practice the Gift of Four in our home, so that the meaning of Christmas isn’t overshadowed by a pile of gifts under the tree. And, we par take in plenty of fun experiences leading up to the holidays that involve family, food and Christmas lights!
Replacing entitlement with gratitude and thankfulness can seem like a daunting thing to add to your already packed to-do list, but I have found five easy ways to teach these values to young children that you will want to continue all year long.
Five Easy Ways To Teach Gratitude
- Make a Gratitude Tree together as a family, with a FREE printable here. Get EVERYONE involved and writing things they are grateful for on the tree. When it’s done, hang it up as a daily, visual reminder of your blessings.
- Volunteer together as a family. It can be a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or visiting a nursing home. In fact, let your children decide where they would like to donate their time. Maybe it can even be a monthly occurrence in the new year! This is one of the best ways for your children to actually see and experience people (or animals) that are less fortunate. If your little one is too young to do hands-on volunteering, bring them with you when you go shopping/drop off supplies at the organization (always check with the charity first on their wish list and current needs!) Here are a few great tips for volunteering with young children.
- For older kiddos, start a nightly gratitude journal with them, you can incorporate it into bedtime prayers as well. For younger kiddos, start a “Favorite Part of Day” jar to write in at the end of the day.
- Write thank you notes on a regular basis to anyone who helps make your family life go smoother…Grandparents, your babysitter, preschool teacher, house cleaner…everyone deserves to know when they are doing a good job! Also, having your children help you with them is a reminds them of how lucky they are to have them in their life.
- Every night at dinner, ask your family some variation of “What are you grateful for today?” A few ideas:
- What places are you grateful for?
- What invention are you grateful for?
- What sounds are you grateful for?
- What part of the day are you grateful for?
- What talent are you grateful for?
- What in nature are you grateful for?
- What role model are you grateful for?
What else would you add to this list? How do you maintain an attitude of gratitude in your family? Comment below please!