As the Holidays approach us, the topic of gratitude is at the forefront. Having gratitude is something that takes practice and consistency.
As parents and caregivers, it is our responsibility to continually help our kids develop a true sense of gratitude for all that they have, material and otherwise all times of the year.
Here are some ways to instill this powerful practice in kids all year round!
Acts of Kindness - by giving others your time, showing your patience, offering thoughtful favors, showing support in a time of need or being there to listen or offer advice. Often we think of ‘giving’ as something that is done through monetary means during the holidays. While donating money and tangible gifts to charity during the holidays is a kind gesture, and very much needed by many charitable organizations, children will learn a whole lot more about true thankfulness by sacrificing their own time, their comfort, their wants and needs by giving both tangible and intangible things to others. Whether it is through helping their elderly neighbor shovel her driveway, teaching their little brother to tie his shoes, offering to buy breakfast for the man at the counter who forgot his wallet, or offering to assist the host with the dishes after dinner. Children should be encouraged to give to others year-round in order to truly experience how this powerful practice can impact happiness and purpose.
Live Simply - Whether it is just for a small period of time each day or an intentional way of day-to-day living, going without or less of certain things allows us to better appreciate what we have. It is easy to take our comfortable way of life for granted. A lot of kids are accustomed to living among an abundance of modern conveniences, toys, electronics, food, shelter and clothing. It is a parent’s natural instinct to shower our children with all the things, especially around the holidays, yet allowing kids to go without certain things has tremendous benefits as well. Limiting their screen time, implementing toy rotation principals, and encouraging them to donate some of their gently used belongings provides an opportunity to see more value in what they do have. It also provides an opportunity for them to experience how satisfying it feels to share their bounties with others.
Express Gratitude by Saying “Thank You” - Sure, actions speak louder than words, yet hearing “Thank You” never gets old. Life is made of mundane yet important, routine moments. Thank your partner for unloading the dishwasher, thank your kid for putting his shoes away. If a stranger holds the door for you, thank them. Let your kids hear you express your gratitude. They will pick up on this and follow your lead.
Count Your Blessings - Though it is just one part of the gratitude puzzle, it is an important one. By creating a list of the “blessings” we are thankful for, we can visualize all that we do have. Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking about the things that we do not yet have, can’t have or will never have, and forget to acknowledge all of the things in life that we DO have. Staying cognizant of what we are thankful for fosters a sense of peace, happiness and overall satisfaction in life.
From all of us at HABA, we wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday season!