It’s fast approaching the holiday season & Christmas – the season of high hint dropping or even downright whining as the adverts crank up & work their marketing magic on your already stretched purses strings.
We are still in the tight grip of a cost of living crisis & it’s incredibly stressful & worrying around making sure our families receive lovely gifts but that kids understand that they are within our budgets.
The world wants your kids to buy stuff.
Here’s how to help them be less materialistic & shift the emphasis back to being grateful for what they do already have.
Feeling grateful can lead to other positive emotions like happiness, contentment & self confidence too – what lovely gifts to give your kids this holiday season that are completely free!
Here are some ideas that I hope you find helpful.
21 Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude
🙏 Gratitude Journal:
Encourage kids to keep a daily journal where they write down things they’re thankful for.
🙏 Thank You Cards:
Create colourful thank-you cards for friends, family, or teachers to express appreciation.
🙏 Gratitude Tree:
Make a tree using paper and get your kids to hang leaves with thankful thoughts on it.
Read books that emphasise gratitude, sparking discussions on the importance of being thankful.
🙏 Gratitude Jar:
Make a jar & decorate it with felt pens, ribbon & glitter where kids can put in notes about things they’re grateful for, then they can read them together from time to time as a good reminder.
🙏 Acts of Kindness:
Encourage small acts of kindness and discuss the positive impact on others.
🙏 Gratitude Stones:
Paint or decorate stones with things they’re grateful for, creating a visual reminder.
🙏 Thankful Treasure Hunt:
Organise a treasure hunt where your kids find and share things they’re thankful for.
🙏 Gratitude Collage:
Create collages using pictures or words that represent what they’re grateful for.
🙏 Gratitude Alphabet:
Go through the alphabet, assigning something they’re thankful for to each letter.
🙏 Cook and Share:
Cook a simple recipe together, discussing the gratitude for food and those who provide it.
🙏 Family Thankfulness Circle:
Sit in a circle and take turns expressing gratitude for someone or something.
🙏 Gratitude Bingo:
Play a bingo game with squares representing different things to be thankful for.
🙏 Gratitude Charades:
Play a charades game where each action or gesture represents something your child is thankful for.
🙏 Nature Walk Reflections:
Take a nature walk and encourage kids to reflect on the beauty around them, expressing gratitude for nature’s wonders.
🙏 Gratitude Map:
Create a world map, and for each country, discuss and write down things to be thankful for, fostering a global perspective on gratitude.
🙏 Thankful Crafts:
Engage in seasonal art & crafts that symbolise gratitude
🙏 Gratitude Stones:
Decorate stones with words like “joy,” “love,” and “family” to represent things they appreciate.
🙏 Community Service:
Volunteer as a family to teach kids the value of giving back.
🙏 Gratitude Song:
Have some fun writing and singing a song together that highlights things they’re grateful for.
🙏 Positive Affirmations:
Encourage daily affirmations that promote a positive and thankful mindset.
Make this challenge a part of your night routine or family dinner time for the next 21 days (that’s how long it takes to build a habit) and watch everyone in your family relax, feel more positive, connected & optimistic.
A real mood improver !
The Value of Gratitude for Kids
Gratitude Enhances Empathy
Gratitude encourages children to recognise and appreciate the efforts, kindness, and support they receive from others. This heightened awareness helps them understand the value of what others do for them which nurtures their understanding of empathy.
Gratitude Improves Physical Health
Practicing gratitude has been linked to lower stress levels. Children who express thankfulness may experience reduced stress, leading to better overall physical health.
Grateful thoughts and behaviours have been associated with better sleep quality. When children focus on positive aspects of their lives, it can contribute to more restful sleep & improved overall physical well-being.
Some research suggests that feeling grateful may positively influence your child’s immune system. A healthier immune system can help children resist illnesses and recover more quickly too.
Gratitude Improves Sleep
Research has shown that writing things down that you are grateful for in a gratitude journal just before bedtime helps you to sleep better and longer. (2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being)
Gratitude Improves Self-Esteem
Grateful children are often more emotionally resilient. They may develop a mindset that helps them cope with challenges and setbacks, which can, in turn, boost their self-esteem by recognising their ability to navigate set backs, challenges & difficulties.
Gratitude Can Help With Trauma
Expressing gratitude reduces stress, it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A study published in 2003 found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11.
Additionally, a 2006 study found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
While trauma needs professional support & expertise I think it’s interesting that gratitude can play a part in recovery.
It shows that recognising the things you do have to be thankful for, even during the worst times of your life, can serve as a protective factor that fosters resilience so it can play an important part of your child’s resilience toolkit.
Gratitude Improves Psychological Health
Gratitude has been shown to decrease a wide variety of toxic emotions, such as resentment, prolonged anger, envy, persistent sadness, and regret.
Having a grateful attitude is intrinsically linked to a sense of well-being, increasing overall happiness and positive emotions while reducing rates of depression.
Gratitude Improves Relationships
As important as it is to teach our children to use their manners and say, “Please,” and, “Thank you,” thanking others for their contributions also improves both professional and personal relationships.
A 2014 study found that those who express gratitude well were more likely to make and keep new friends than those who did not (2014 study published in Emotion).
Lots of food for thought for us as parents too!