The holidays are a time for appreciation and giving, but your preschool might be caught up in the idea that the holidays are about receiving gifts. Teaching your children gratitude can be a tricky thing for toddlers and preschoolers to learn, since, at that age, they are naturally self-centered. But young children can start to grasp the concept and fully understand it around the age of 2 or 3.
Teaching your child how to be grateful comes from example and practice. Try out some of these techniques for teaching gratitude this holiday season, and make it a routine post-holiday.
Ways to Teach Gratitude
- Teach Thank You’s – Whether you make it a point of saying it, or implement a thank you card or picture, make sure your child learns that when they receive a gift, some sort of thank you is expected. Be sure you use verbal thank you’s days when you talk to them.
- Let them Help – Whether it’s a small kitchen mess or bringing in groceries from the car, let your preschoolers help out with tasks and chores around the house. When they help and you show appreciation, they’ll naturally learn to want to help and give.
- Make A Gift List to Give – Help your preschooler make a list of gifts your preschooler would like to make for family members and friends.
- Set a Routine – Ask your child every day what they are thankful for. You can implement this at bedtime or a special time designated to talk about his or her day.
- Set Expectations – When you go out shopping or have a celebration, set the expectation ahead of time that you are “only looking” or not buying or touching. Or that the gifts are for so-and-so if it’s a birthday party.
Be patient as young children learn to not be so self-centered. Be sure to set a good a good example for your toddler or preschooler and they’ll learn to be grateful.