By Dema Kohen
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Stores are filled to the brim with turkey, Pilgrims, food, and reminders to be grateful.
If only that were true! Unfortunately, being grateful for what we have isn’t nearly as much fun as the anticipation of what more we will soon get. It also doesn’t make stores nearly as much money. With Christmas filling the minds of parents and children alike, how can we pause and inspire kids’ hearts to grow in gratitude? Here are three simple ways to encourage gratitude in kids:
- Adopt a family or a child in need. It’s easy to spend the holiday season thinking about what we don’t have. Sometimes the best reminder of what we already have is to spend it thinking about what others don’t have. Help your kids to invest in a personal way. This can be through a food drive, a toy drive, a love offering for a community family, or even going to visit someone in a nursing home.
- Have your kids write up a Christmas wish list. When they are finished, turn the page and have them write the same number of things they are grateful for. If they made long lists, they will be writing a lot of things they are grateful for! Let this be a fun and gentle reminder that it is a lot easier to ask for more than it is to stop and say, “Thank you.”
- Invite special guests to your classroom to tell a special story of how God is working in their lives and what they are especially grateful for. Allow this to be a springboard for kids to share with each other what they are most thankful for this year. Close your time with a prayer of gratitude.
The key in all of this is to inspire them, not to guilt them. True gratitude will not flow out of the hearts of children that have been made to feel guilty for their excitement for toys or experiences. Let the gratitude start with us as we thank God for these children, his precious blessings that he has allowed us to influence. Let them see your contagious gratitude and then let it spread.
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