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Teaching Gratitude and Generosity to Kids During the Holidays

November and December, with all of their holidays, are great times to teach kids at a Silver Spring child care center how to be thankful. With all the gift-giving and time spent with family and friends, there is much to be thankful for. Kids will be kids, of course. It can be tough to slow down and be thankful when you’re excited about getting gifts. While kids may not be doing anything wrong when they feel this way, that doesn’t mean we should miss the chance to teach them how to be thankful during the holidays. Expressing gratitude can make you and your kids happier and teach them to focus on giving rather than getting.

Why Teaching Gratitude is Important

Studies have shown that being thankful is not something you are born with. Parents and teachers who teach their kids to be thankful for what they have teach them more about gratitude than parents who don’t show their own thanks. This is why teaching kids to be thankful through giving back during the holidays is important.

Always give thanks for what you have and how lucky you are to live the life you do. Being grateful will make you happier. There are also better ties with family and friends because being kinder makes people want to be around you more. Being kinder leads to better health, empathy for others, generosity, and the ability to give back.

happy family during thanksgiving

Volunteer Your Time

You can teach kids to be grateful for what they have by showing them how rewarding it is to help people who are in need through charities or by giving your time and/or money to good causes. School age programs in Silver Spring, MD, are always in need of volunteers. Being active with other good causes and being kind are also great ways for kids to feel better about themselves by volunteering. Kids really enjoy helping, especially when it’s about something they’re interested in.

You can volunteer any time of the year, but the holidays often bring more possibilities. Parents can look up volunteer groups and causes in their area to learn how they can help. Making “care packages” for families who don’t have enough food, toiletries, and other necessities is a popular way to volunteer during the holidays. Volunteering is a great way for everyone to feel good about themselves and gives kids useful life experiences.

Donate Toys, Food, and Clothes

Most of us think of gifts and parties when we think of the holidays, but many families don’t have these things available. Talk to your kids about kids who don’t have as much as they do, and ask them to picture themselves in their place. Many charities will gladly take used clothes and toys. Your kids will feel good knowing that they made someone else’s holiday season a little better.

Another sad truth is that many families always have trouble getting enough food. More than 10% of Americans didn’t have enough food to eat last year. In the Christmas season, food drives are very popular. Because they last a long time, canned goods are especially popular. Get your kids to help you look through the kitchen for things you no longer need and can give away.

boy holding a box full of toys for donation

Model the Behavior You Want to See

Kind things you do for no reason are another way to teach kids to be thankful. Teach your kid to care about other people and always look for creative ways to make someone else’s day better. Help your kid find a neighbor or a kid at child care in Silver Spring, MD, who need a friend. Talk with them about what you can do to make their day better. For example, you could bake and give a batch of fresh cookies, send them a card with a positive message, or offer to do their yard work.

Try being nice to a stranger if you can’t think of anyone else you’d like to help. If you’re in the drive-through, leave some extra change in the machine and pay for the person behind you. If you’re in line, let someone go through before you and open a door for them. Kids need to see adults acting in these ways if they want to learn how to put others first and show thanks by paying it forward.

teaching kindness to children by modeling it

Teach Kids Self-Reflection

People don’t always take the time to sit back and think about all the good things in their lives. To teach kids how to do this, it’s important to talk about the good things in our lives often. The speed at which kids learn to name the things they’re thankful for is truly amazing. And it’s not always the brand-new gift they got from their grandparents. The little things in life often make us the happiest. Your kids will be grateful members of society once they learn to think about their own position and understand how other people feel when they are in a worse one.

Final Thoughts

A lot of the good things that happen in our lives are thanks to people who went out of their way to help us. They may have sent us a present, baked us a cake, made us a nice meal, or given us a gift. Another great way to teach kids to be grateful is to show them how important it is to say “thank you.” Speaking their thanks out loud is a great way to practice self-reflection, appreciation, and good connection. When you thank someone, you make them feel loved and important.

Kids should learn how lucky they are and that there are people in the world who don’t have as much as they do by learning how to give back. Whether they are being taught thankfulness at home or at an after school program in Silver Spring, MD, kids who are taught this are happier. Giving to others in need makes kids appreciate their own lives and be thankful for what they have by making them feel good about what they have. Being kind not only helps people who are in need, but it also makes kids feel strong since not everyone has the chance to give.

Happy smiling mom and child spending time together at home.

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