Teaching Kids an “Attitude of Gratitude” this Holiday Season

Christmas morning in my household is like a shark feeding frenzy, with the sharks (my four children) devouring a pile of bloody chum (the presents). After weeks of shopping and hours of wrapping and labeling gifts, I watch my little ones rip off the festive ribbons and tear through the boxes in a matter of minutes. It’s disheartening, to say the least.

How do we, as parents, cut down on the materialism and overriding consumerism of the holidays and teach our little ones the true meaning and spirit of the season? Moreover, how do we instill in them an “attitude of gratitude”?

A recent Wall Street journal article about raising kids with gratitude cited studies showing that children who “count their blessings” reap concrete benefits, including having stronger GPAs, experiencing less depression and envy, and having a more positive outlook on life.

Teaching our kids to say “thank you” is important, but according to happiness coach and author Andrea Reiser, “gratitude goes beyond good manners—it’s a mindset and a lifestyle.” It includes being grateful not just for material things, but also for the experiences we have and the people around us.

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