Gratitude Attitude: The Best Gift You Can Teach Your Child This Christmas
The Christmas season has begun and it’s easy to get lost in the busyness of prepping for the holidays. For moms, the next few weeks mean buying and wrapping gifts for loved ones. Then there are those Christmas parties to schedule. And finally, fixing family plans on what to do over the holidays. Kids are the most eager bunch of merry-makers. They’ve made their list and for sure they’ll check it twice! Receiving gifts are an important part of Christmas for kids who look forward to getting all they wished for from Mom and Dad.
Unfortunately, all the Christmas hype can give kids a false sense of entitlement. Disappointment when they don’t get what they wanted can be disrespectful and hurtful as well. We expect our kids to be thankful no matter what but this sounds easier said than done. It’s easy to teach a child to thank Auntie for the t-shirt he or she just received. But the real challenge is helping the child understand why they should be happy receiving any gift.
A Grateful Child is a Happy Child
Instilling the value of gratitude in children should not just be seasonal. Day upon day, no matter what time of year, parents need to be intentional in teaching children to be happy with what they have. And that everything else is just a bonus—more things to be thankful for.
Gratitude is defined as the feeling of being thankful. If our children overflow with thankfulness for all that they are blessed with whether big or small, then gratitude will turn into generosity. A 2006 study showed that grateful people are more helpful, kind, supportive, and giving. Teaching kids gratitude early on will help them be content and less materialistic.
When there is contentment, a child tends to spend less time being envious of what others have. They grow up with a sense of security knowing that they already have what is necessary. On the other hand, being discontent opens up a child to unhealthy habits.
When it comes to teaching the value of gratitude, there’s no clear-cut solution or Top 10 sure tips to follow. But for starters, you can’t give what you don’t have. So as a parent, you have to be a model of the gratitude attitude. Your children will then learn from you.
The true reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. If you think about it, Christmas itself is an act of generosity when God gave His Son for us all. And if you see it in this perspective, then every good thing in our life is something to be thankful for.
During family conversations, you can ask your kids what they liked about the day and what they’re grateful for. You can then be intentional in pointing out that good things can always come from anything bad that may have happened.
Enjoy the Holidays as a Family.
Christmas is about bringing families together. Don’t fret if your teachings on gratitude don’t sink in right away. Enjoy every moment of your togetherness, whether it be through good times, tantrums, and kiddie angst.
You’ve planted the seeds of thankfulness in your child’s heart and it will surely bear fruit. As your family continues to practice gratitude, generosity will surely follow. There is happiness in receiving, but greater excitement in giving—and what a joy it would be to discover it together as a family.