Teaching kids gratitude

During the holiday season, many children are inundated with gifts from well-intentioned and adoring family and friends. Amidst all of the new toys, games and clothes, how do parents teach children to be genuinely grateful for the gifts they received? Sure, Mom or Dad could pen a thank you note and have kids simply sign their names, but where is the sincerity in that?

Here are some suggestions on how to teach children a lesson in Gratitude 101.

Create a gratitude folder. Keep all of the supplies needed to write thank you notes gathered together so that your kids can easily get the job done. Use a two-pocket folder and fill it with paper, note cards or stationary, a pen or colored pencils, postage stamps and a list of addresses for family and friends. When it comes time for your child to say thank you, he will have all of the supplies at hand.

Artistic expressions. Younger children who don’t yet know how to write can convey their thanks through artwork. Encourage your little one to make an original drawing and then add some words of thanks. Another idea is taking one of your child’s creations and turning it into"stationary.” You can scan a piece of original artwork into a color scanner and make a set of note cards for your child to use. Photo services like Shutterfly (shutterfly.com) will take an image or photograph and turn it into custom note cards for a reasonable price.

Giving back. Who says the only way to say"thank you” is with a note? Work with your child to make homemade gifts of thanks. Bake a batch of cookies and drop off a little bag to express your appreciation for a gift or kind gesture. Other ideas for homemade"thank yous” include a hand-painted wood ornament from a craft store or a little storybook or poem by your budding creative genius.

Of course, the best way to teach your children how to be grateful is by example. Be sure that your children see you expressing gratitude for all of the blessings in your own life.

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