Early Childhood Development

Teaching Gratitude During the Holidays

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The holiday season is here, and there's no doubt your kids are excited about sugary treats and presents galore. As adults, it’s up to us to teach children the reasons for the season. Here are some quick tips for instilling the spirit of giving and gratitude in your children.
 
Family Activities
Make the holidays more about activities and family tradition than gifts. Have your entire family participate in activities such as ice skating, selecting a tree, attending a holiday parade, or decorating cookies. 
 
Practice Politeness
Don't wait until the last minute to teach a younger child how to respond to receiving presents. Have them rehearse their "thank you" (and additional appreciative phrases) early on. Explain that even if it's not the toy they wanted the most, the giver deserves appreciation for their thoughtfulness. 
 
Charity
Show your child that donating to the less fortunate is an important part of the season, and encourage them to participate. Have them select the toys for sponsor-a-child or family programs. Be sure to explain why their gift is needed and how much it will be appreciated. Help them donate to food and clothing drives, or take them caroling in a retirement community. 
 
Homemade Gifts
Encourage your child to make holiday cards, crafts, or handwritten notes for their teachers, siblings and relatives. Give your children handmade gifts as well to emphasize that these gifts come from the heart and that the holidays aren't just about buying things. 
 
Set Expectations
When it comes to you child's wish list, it's ok to set limits or ask them to prioritize the top few things they want. Let them know ahead of time they may not receive everything they want this time around.
 

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