Encouraging gratefulness ahead of the Christmas holidays(5 Posts)
I'm hoping to start a conversation about how to encourage gratefulness in children--especially in the young ones as I've got a 2yo and a 6mo--but for all ages. They'll be getting excited for Christmas... . presents and sweets and parties, etc. And parents seem to bend over backwards to make sure those expectations are met. But I'd like to spend just as much energy bending over backwards to make sure that my children are grateful for everything they already have and that will, let's face it, be given to them in the next couple of months.
I'd love to hear thoughts, ideas, things that have worked for you. Thanks!
When they are little you can print out a picture of them looking jolly with their presents. Print a standard message of thanks and goodwill for everybody and get them to 'sign' these. Mine liked doing this. You can explain how happy everybody will be to see a pic. of them and to know how much they enjoyed their presents etc..
My girls are older now and with encouragement write their own thank you letters. If you have a printed out page it's less arduous.
That's a lovely idea, auntierozzi. We can enjoy doing it together as well. Thx!
I work with teenagers and we take part on the operation Christmas child event every year. There is a video that we show the children (I think it is on the website) that shows these gorgeous little children going crazy with happiness when they receive a shoebox full of little presents. Parents comment every year about how humbled their kids are when they go home and talk about what they have seen (eg a child overwhelmed with joy because they have been given a scalf and hat, when the pupils I teach are all expecting an Iphone). I think it is also nice for the kids to experience buying little gifts for the boxes (or for other family members) and talk about how their gift might be received and how they hope they will like it.
When I was little my mum always made a big deal about buying a gift for my brother on his birthday. She would take me shopping for a present for him and we would have lunch and talk about how we were going to make my brother's day special. On my birthday she would do the same with him. Now that I am a parent I realise that she was trying to teach me the joy of making someone else happy, as a result I think both me and my brother were very grateful for everything we were spoiled with when we were little because the focus was on the thought behind the gift.
We also do the Christmas shoe boxes and my eldest (5.5) gets a lot of pleasure out of choosing gifts for someone. It is very poignant time for me as both my children are adopted and DD1 came home just before Christmas, and her first gift was actually a Christmas Shoe Box. I also think it is something you can encourage all year round; I make sure my kids see me giving to charity and we talk about why I choose to give the homeless man etc money. We also periodically sort through toys in good condition and choose what to donate to orphanages/domestic abuse shelters. This year DD1 has also chosen to have as part of her gift a donation scheme - in other words we do a sponsorship on her behalf instead of her having a pressie. In each case these things have been discussed with her and she has been left to say yes or no to participating. Interestingly the times she has said 'no' ("I want an extra present to unwrap") she has later come back, independently, to me and said she has changed her mind. Most children genuinely have a lot of empathy towards those less fortunate and will jump at the chance to help - whether by taking part in a sponsored event, donating time in a soup kitchen or helping at a charity event or by providing gifts by giving up some of their own pocket money (one way is to match them pound for pound for what they are prepared to donate and then help them shop for quality and price).
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