As we’re getting ready for Christmas, it is a great time to
focus on instilling in our children how to express gratitude.
When I see a young person with an entitlement mentality, I can foresee an unhappy life ahead for them. If they think that everyone owes them something, they will not be satisfied with what they have and will expect others to make them happy. This is a very sad way to live.
Amy McCready, writing for Today.com, says the Greater Good Science Center reports that gratitude actually blocks toxic emotions even as it allow us to celebrate the present. Grateful people are more stress-resistant and have a higher sense of self-worth.
We may not realize when our children are small, how important training them to say, “Thank you,” will be to their future happiness. Ways to express our gratitude grow as we mature. So, why not begin today to teach your little one ways they can express their thankfulness. What starts as a habit will become a way of life that is fulfilling and pleasing to everyone they associate with.
As preschoolers, we can teach them more than just saying, “thank you,” at appropriate moments. Here are Amy’s suggestions:
- Create a thank-you. When your young kids receive gifts, they should be expected to create and send a thank-you picture or short note within one day (or at the rate of one or two thank-you’s per day).
- Be polite to Mr. Bear. Role-play using good manners and saying “thank you” using stuffed animals and action figures.
- Pick your top 3. At dinner or bedtime, take turns sharing the three best things about your day.
- Commit it to memory. Find and memorize thank-you prayers, songs or poems.
- Make a different kind of gift list. Write down the things (preferably handmade) your preschoolers would like to give friends and family as holiday gifts.
To read more of Amy’s article and suggestions for older children, see: Get Grateful!
To read about gift buying and how to involve your children in giving, see: Gift Giving
My prayer for you is a holy and joyous Christmas season filled with love.