Teaching Gratitude During the Holiday Season

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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This week Crystal shares how teaching your kids to have an attitude of gratitude will result in Improved self-esteem, resilience, and empathy.

Episode #27 –  As parents, we love giving our children gifts and seeing their eyes sparkle with delight. But we do our kids a disservice when we fail to teach them the blessing of having a grateful heart. On today’s show, Crystal talks about ways to encourage a grateful heart in your children, not just during the holidays but all year long.

Giving and receiving gifts is a wonderful blessing; however, the Christmas season tends to over-encourage a “gimme” attitude in children, which can lead to a feeling of entitlement rather than gratitude. Teaching your kids to have an attitude of gratitude has many benefits. An article published by The ImagineProject.org lists the following benefits of gratitude: “Greater sense of well-being; improved physical health; improved self-esteem, resilience, and empathy; decreased aggression; increased optimism; improved sleep.”

When we revisit negative thoughts over and over again, we are literally deepening those connective pathways in our brains, making us more prone to think negative thoughts. The same goes for positive, thankful thoughts. We have to be mindful of where we let our minds go; we’re choosing our future thought patterns. This is why it truly is a gift you give your children when you teach them to be thankful and model gratitude in your own life. Material things come and go, but a grateful attitude is a blessing to everyone.

Ways to Teach Gratitude to Children

  1. Don’t overindulge your children – having too much fosters an attitude of UNgratefulness.
  2. Teach them to say thank you as a matter of habit from an early age. 
  3. Teach them to be grateful for each and every gift they receive or kind deed. 
  4. Teach them to count their blessings. Talk about all the things you’re grateful for as a family. 
  5. Encourage your child to write thank-you notes for gifts they receive.
  6. Have your kids earn money of their own to purchase gifts for family members or create gifts, like ornaments or painting pictures. Let your children give to other children at Christmas time through organizations like Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child, etc. Many military bases host a version of the Angel Tree for military children.  Let your kids help pick out the gifts, wrap them, and maybe even deliver them.
  7. Serve others through volunteering – this takes the emphasis off of ourselves and puts it on others. 
  8. Grateful parents raise grateful kids. Modeling gratefulness in our own words and actions will go a long way to instilling that character quality in our children. 

Gratitude is a valuable life skill that has many amazing benefits. It can help children to develop strong relationships, cope with adversity, and feel happier overall. Make sure to model thankfulness in your own life and encourage gratitude in your children. Not just during the holiday season but all year long!


The Imagine Project, INC


Upper Iowa University is committed to providing quality, affordable education to service members and their families. Service members, spouses and dependents qualify for tuition savings with their Military Family Grant on undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

UIU programs are available online, on campus and at one of their learning centers across the country. Work one-on-one with an advisor to reach your educational goals. Learn more at UIU.EDU/MilitaryHomeSchool

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