By contributing writer Colleen
November is here, the holiday season is in full swing, and my kids’ attentions have turned toward Christmas. With ads, catalogs, and commercials touting all the latest and greatest items kids need, it’s increasingly difficult to turn their focus to the things they already have.
And it’s next to impossible to get them to express gratitude for those things already filling their shelves and closets.
One of the best ways to help kids get over that gimme mentality is to help them turn their focus to gratitude. Being thankful for the things with which they’ve been blessed is a fabulous antidote to the wants.
You can start by simply encouraging them to tell you five things about the day for which they are thankful. You can do the same. And, if it’s tough for them to come up with things at first, help them out by offering suggestions:
- The sun was shining, so we were able to take our first walk of the week.
- Baby brother napped, so Mom was able to play a board game this afternoon.
- It’s pizza night — and that’s my favorite food.
Better yet, get your kids in the habit of writing down the things for which they are grateful. Mind to pen to paper…it’ll make it more tangible for them, and they’ll remember those things more readily instead of focusing on what they don’t have.
To make showing gratitude and thinking about it a family activity, try making these easy gratitude journals.
Gratitude Journal Instructions
- Scrapbook paper scraps and extras cut to 4 x 6 inches
- Hole punch
Punch a hole in your paper. Then, thread the ribbon through the holes to bind it into a book.
After dinner each night, place the journals, a cup of markers, and a box of stickers on the table. Sit down as a family and open to a page in the journal, write five things that happened that day for which you are grateful (and have everyone do the same in theirs), and decorate your page with stickers.
Take a few minutes for everyone to share their pages. Talk about all of the great things you each noticed and how different everyone’s perspectives are.
Instilling a grateful heart in kids can be a challenge, but it’s so worth it. What are some ways you help your kids see all of the things there are to be grateful for?
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