Are you worried about your child feeling spoiled, or ungrateful around the holidays? It is the season of giving, but also a season of “gimme”. Here are 25 activities you can do to start building gratitude this holiday season.
Why Gratitude is Important for Children
Gratitude is deeper than just saying thank you. It is a mindset. There are many benefits to practicing gratitude such as reducing stress and anxiety, along with building resilience which helps with overcoming trauma.
In the Raising Grateful Children project at UNC Chapel Hill, they identify gratitude as having four different parts. Adults may be able to experience all four different levels independently, but you may need to help guide children through all of the parts.
Notice – Are you aware of what you appreciate? Did someone do something nice for you? What makes you happy?
Think – Why are you thankful for these things? Why have you been given these things? What does this mean for you?
Feel – What emotions are you experiencing because of this?
Do – What can you do to express your gratitude?
Children often struggle with the “do” part of gratitude. You can involve them in many different activities to help practice and engage in gracious activities.
25 Activities for Building Gratitude
1. Model appreciation – say thank you to others (cashiers, servers, custodians, etc..) and to your children
2. Have them purchase presents with their own money
3. Make a giving list
4. Send thank you notes – (teach them how to write a good thank you note.)
5. Catch them being grateful and praise them for it.
6. Sponsor a family in need – (Link here to Mission E4 – Helping children in Haiti)
7. Send a care package
8. Give experience gifts
9. Pay it forward at a drive thru
10. Create a gratitude chain – (write down things you’re thanksful for on strips of paper, glue them in a chain.)
11. Participate in random acts of kindness
12. Create a monthly calendar of service
13. Don’t give kids everything on their list
14. Have a gratitude jar
15. Share gratitude on social media
16. Write in a gratitude journal
17. Create a thankful rock – everytime you see it, or touch it you have to think of something you are grateful for.
18. Write what you love about your family members and give it to them.
19. Create a collage of things you are grateful for and post this in your room.
20. Read books that emphasize gratitude & empathy
21. Do a gratitude scavenger hunt
22. Share a “Wow” moment of the day – each of you something awe inspiring for you
23. Find a positive in every situation
24. Create a gratitude time capsule
25. Do gratitude yoga
If you have other activities to help build gratitude, make sure to share them with us!
Building Gratitude Around The Holidays
Lisa Edwards, M.E., Parenting Coach