Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can be described and felt in many ways, yet often goes unnoticed. With the holidays approaching, it is important to not only be grateful in your lives but also to be mindful of how we can pass this trait on to our children. Let’s go over a few easy but effective ways to teach our children how to properly express gratitude to friends, family, and strangers.

1. Handwriting a thank you letter is a traditional and more intimate way to express your gratitude towards someone. It can have a stronger impact than an email or a phone call because it tells them you took the time to craft a unique, handwritten note just for them.

2. Regardless of the value of a gift, teach your children that it is the thought that counts. A gift doesn’t have to be expensive to come from their heart. In fact, some of the best gifts that you can give could be something you made yourself or remind them of a specific memory that they cherish.

3. It’s better to give than to receive. Instilling a sense of charity and selflessness in your child can give them an in-depth appreciation for less fortunate families. If you’re with them at the store and see small gifts that can be donated to disadvantaged families, explain to them that those families may not be able to afford their own gifts and that you can extend some holiday love and cheer to them with a small purchase.

4. Actions speak louder than words. Yes, it is important to verbally express your thanks to those close to you, but extending that a step further is even better. Teaching your children that they can help with tasks such as helping to decorate or wrap presents can give them an understanding and appreciating of the amount of work that can go into celebrating holidays.

5. Appreciating family unity. Many families may not be fortunate enough to be together during the holidays. There can be a lot of reasons for this, such as those who need to work on a holiday or are simply too far apart to spend the time together. Being grateful to spend special days surrounded by friends and family can build unique, beautiful memories.

Teaching your children from a young age to employ a sense of appreciation and respect can mold them into adults who truly understand the joy and love that should surround not just holidays, but each day of our lives. Here’s to a wonderful Christmas!

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