During this time of year, it is very important to remind our children the importance of gratitude. Simply saying “thank you” may not be enough to create a lifestyle of thankfulness. Follow these tips to learn how to foster caring, thoughtful children.
LENDING LIBRARY: Do your children enjoy reading? Why not share their favorite books with their friends by setting up a “lending library?” Once a child has read the book, he/she could “sign” the book. This simple gesture develops a sense of bonding between friends as they share something that is important to them with someone else.
FAMILY ACTION: Make it a family affair, whether cleaning out toys and clothing to give to someone in need or visiting a local soup kitchen. Modeling acts of kindness for our children is very important. Oasis Safe Haven in Paterson, NJ encourages families during the holiday season to help serve a holiday meal to those in need.
LETTERS OF THANKS: Writing letters of thanks is a great way to teach kindness. Why wait until someone gives you a gift to thank them. Instead, have children write a note or draw a picture for friends, teachers, local authority thanking them for their help, friendship, or love over the past year.
KINDNESS BOOK: Why not record the random acts of kindness that take place in your home? Collect the kind gestures the children exhibit throughout the week. Make it a celebration and one day per week reflect on the entries.
HELPING HANDS: A “helping hand” chart teaches children to be a team-player at home and in life. It reminds children the importance of “pitching in” without having to be directly asked. It also teaches children that we help others even if we don’t see the direct benefits to ourselves.
LEMONADE STAND: A good ole’ fashion lemonade stand allows a child to turn their passion into action. Whether they are selling lemonade, cookies or string bracelets, children are able to donate the profits to a special cause. This simple action illustrates the meaning of the old saying, “It’s better to give than receive.”
PAY IT FORWARD: Next time you’re at your favorite drive thru coffee location, why not pay it forward and treat the person behind you on line? You’d be surprised how this random act of kindness can go a long way.
It’s not enough to teach our children to simply say thank you. Action really does speak louder than words. This is a mindset we should be fostering in our children. As William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
*This article originally appeared in the Andrea’s Anecdotes column in the November 2016 Issue of the North Caldwell Magazine