As the holiday season is in full swing, and folks are shopping like crazy for presents, this is also the best time to teach children about gratitude and kindness. All over social media we see random acts of kindness from a stranger to another stranger and even companies who go out of their way to donate more and to offer more kind acts. Perhaps it’s the holiday spirit that gets us out of our comfort zone and extend a hand of gratitude. But kindness, appreciation, and gratitude should really be practiced all year round. And this act alone, should be readily taught to kids at a young age.
If you ever jump onto Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube, you see random acts of kindness throughout the world. Why is it that we only notice these kind acts during the holidays? Is it to send a gentle reminder that we should not take things for granted? We are all on this planet together, whether we are struggling to make ends meet or we live in lavish mansions. We are all connected by the choices we make and what we do defines our character. As adults, we might tend to forget these simple things such as gratitude and appreciation. But children tend to see these kind acts more clearly than adults. It’s up to us to lead our kids to a better path and a better future.
So how do we practice gratitude ourselves and in turn teach our children? Below I’ve provided several simple and doable acts that kids can perform on their own, and maybe with a little nudge from their parents 🙂
10 Simple Acts of Gratitude for Kids to Practice:
1- Speak with kindness and be compassionate. Empathy is learned by watching others.
2- Donate gently used items in your house. Your kids can help you round up items that they no longer need or use or have outgrown. This teaches kids to appreciate all the material things that they already have.
3- Hug a teacher and give a fellow student a “high five”. Showing your teachers and classmates that you acknowledge what they do is a simple yet heartfelt act.
4- Eat food that makes you feel good inside and out. Healthy foods makes healthy minds and bodies and children will be happier.
5- Thank everyone you come across with. Whether it’s the mail carrier, the stranger who opens the door for you, or the cashier at the checkout counter.
6- Write down what you are thankful for. And share it with your family.
7- Compliment a friend. It can be daily or whenever you see someone in need of one.
8- Smile. Smile. Smile. You never know when someone needs to see it.
9- Wake up each morning with a little prayer or mantra of gratitude and thankfulness. It can be as simple as, “I am thankful for my family and for everything that I have.” The affirmation to yourself will help brighten your day.
10- Appreciate nature. Be gentle and kind to all living beings. They are all a part of our world too.
And here are some delightful quotes of gratitude:
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
“The ultimate source of happiness is not money and power, but warm-heartedness” – Dalai Lama
“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.” ― Dalai Lama
So this holiday season, let’s help our kids express gratitude towards themselves and others. For when we respect ourselves, we can in turn respect others.
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