Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Thankful Thanksgiving: Teaching Children Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is fast approaching as are the holidays. Children are surrounded by advertisements and friends talking about the latest and greatest on the toy isle. As wish lists get longer many parents wonder how to help their children feel of the spirit of Thanksgiving in a society that teaches entitlement.

Here are some tips and tricks we suggest for helping your children develop gratitude:

Model Grateful Behavior - Thank your children when they do something for you. Talk to them about all the things that you are grateful for. Let them see you write thank you notes. Young children make great copy cats. If you want to teach your children how to be grateful, show them through example.

Help Children Notice the Wonders Around them - Take time to stop and listen to the birds sing. Point out the way that soap bubbles. Notice the leaves changing color. The world is full of awesome things! As children become aware of the wonders around them they will develop feelings of gratitude and appreciation.

Do a Service Project - It doesn't have to be big. Let your child help you make cookies for a neighbor or take them with you to rake the leaves for Grandma. Engaging your children in little acts of kindness will help them "feel good inside." It will also teach them the about the importance of sharing what they have with others, even if all they give is time.

Write a Thank You Note -  Have a child that's too young to write? Not a problem. Encourage your little one to color a picture on the front of a handmade card and write down what they tell you to say inside. Once the card is completed let them deliver it to the recipient in person. This will teach your child through experience how happy it makes others when they say thank you.   

Developing gratitude can help children be happier and less demanding as the holidays approach, making Thanksgiving more enjoyable for the whole family. Want more ideas to teach your children gratitude? Click here, here, or here.

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