The festive season can be an overwhelming time for children, with long Christmas lists, high expectations and busy schedules. However, it doesn't have to be all about toys and presents. In fact, Christmas can be a time where the whole family focuses on giving back and being grateful. It’s a perfect time to teach young children gratitude, and even though this is easier said than done, there are some ways that parents can help foster a sense of gratitude, even during the festive season. Here are some tips for teaching your children the real spirit of Christmas and help build a sense of gratitude and thankfulness.
Shift The Focus From Receiving To Giving
Make giving to others a part of your family's Christmas preparations. Encourage your kids to give generously to friends, family and those less fortunate than themselves. You can do this by getting them involved in some local volunteering, asking them to donate their unwanted toys or thinking of a way to raise money for a charity of their choice. Another really lovely idea is the Samaritans Shoebox gift, where your child can pack a shoebox for a child as a Christmas gift and choose what kind of items go inside- find out more here. Through learning to give to people that might not have a lot, it helps children realise how fortunate they really are.
Make Gratitude A Festive Family Tradition
It’s a lovely idea to build up a new festive family tradition of saying all the things you're grateful for. Whether this is on Christmas morning before opening gifts or during Christmas dinner- it’s important that gratitude is practiced during this time of year, especially if you want it to become a normal way of thinking for your child.
Write Thank You Notes For Gifts
After Christmas presents have been received, it’s a great idea to have your kids write handwritten thank you notes for all the gifts they have received. Teach them how to write a proper thank you note and let them do the writing themselves if they’re old enough. The note doesn't have to be very long- just a few sentences saying why they like the gift or what it means to them. Even though it’s a simple notion, it really helps children realise how to express gratitude to others during Christmas.
Set A Great Example
If you want your kids to practice gratitude, it’s crucial that you set a great example, especially during the festive period. Make sure you’re gracious when accepting gifts and take part in regular gratitude practices too. It’s also important to remind your children that you’re grateful for them, which will help them understand how great it feels to be appreciated.