teach children gratitude

Six ways to teach children 🧒 gratitude 💝 around the holidays ✨

On Sundays, my son has soccer practice ⚽. About halfway through his practice last week, he started to get grouchy and complain that he didn’t want to do it anymore. He just shrugged his shoulders and said he wasn’t ‘feeling it’ 😟. Now, I'll be the first to say that children deserve our empathy and unconditional love, but sometimes we all just get in a mood. Not knowing what to do and in a complete bout of frustration, I yelled at him. Yes, mom is very fallible, and though I try my best, I am only human 👩‍💼

Part of my frustration came from all the effort his dad and I have made to support and watch him do something he loves to do. More than this, I’d grown increasingly tired and weary from the attitude and disregard for privileges. I decided I had had enough 🤯.

Growing up, gratitude 💝 was not something we talked about much. However, I intrinsically knew it was there.  From the way my dad would stop on the side of the highway to assist someone who needed help starting their car 🚙. Or, the way he would volunteer to help a neighbor in need. Or, the way my mom would knit scarfs for my teachers🧣. Or, cook up special sweets and treats for friends and neighbors. Or, the way she would carefully pack gently used clothing for my aunt in Colombia who, as a nun, runs one of the largest refugee orphanages in Bogota, Colombia .

For this and many more reasons, it's important to me that we instill our children with a big sense of gratitude. While not always easy to do, as we are bombarded with a constant to-do list all year round (and especially around the holidays), as with anything that is important, you try to make time. Here are six tips to teach your kids how to be thankful this holiday season 🎁 and all year round:

  1. Lead by example 🙏. Say “thank you” in your home. Show appreciation to your kids when they do something you asked of them. When others serve you, like at a store or restaurant, give them a genuine thank you. These two simple words can be very powerful. It lets others know you appreciate them. A simple thank you could make someone’s day!
  2. Don’t buy everything on their wish list 📋. It’s natural to feel the need to buy your kids every present on the list. Unfortunately, the more you give, the more they want. Talk to your kids about their lists. Find out what they really want, then prioritize the list accordingly. They won’t appreciate everything they've received if you buy everything on their lists. If you buy the presents that are the most meaningful, you can teach them to be thankful for what they received. I always try to teach my children that it’s about quality, not quantity ✨.
  3. Teach them the value of money 🏦. If you make them use their own money, it’s interesting to see how fast they change their tune. When kids have to save 💵 for something they really want, it helps teach them that money doesn’t grow on trees. It also teaches them to appreciate what they have. Moreover, when the day comes to make that big purchase, they can feel good about it.
  4. Encourage them to volunteer 💟. Volunteering at a local charity and serving those in need can be a fantastic experience. It can help them put things in perspective. Volunteering also allows you to have meaningful conversations before, during, and after an event.
  5. Patience is a virtue 🌹. Kids won’t understand gratitude right away. Sometimes as adults, we don’t show gratitude or appear to understand it. For it to finally sink in, you must continually show them how, so be patient.
  6. Teach them to be gracious and respectful all year round 🤗. Once the holiday season ends, gratitude and respect for others doesn’t go to the curb with the Christmas tree. Teaching them to be gracious and respectful all year is important.

After that temper tantrum on Sunday, I sat down with my son and suggested an arts and crafts project 🧑‍🎨.  I bought a big piece of white poster board. We decorated it with big rainbow letters 🎨 at the top, we titled it “Gratitude wall’. It hangs in our kitchen and we have filled it to the gills, each taking turns writing on it. It’s a daily reminder to take time to write, in words, the many many things we have to be grateful for.

Happy Holidays,


MommaBear Organics.

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