Encouraging Gratitude in a Season of the Gimmes

This time of year, it can be particularly difficult to reign in selfish attitudes. With toy catalogs arriving every week and messages from advertisers encouraging kids to ask for more, it can be hard to temper this into something more positive - particularly with young kids who take everything at face value. Here are some ways we encourage gratitude and downplay selfish behavior.

- Allow your kids to make a wishlist, then help them be realistic and narrow it down to a manageable amount. Talk about expectations and wishes versus actual wants and needs.
- Volunteer. It can be difficult with children, but some organizations are very family-friendly. Local churches may have ideas, and it will help kids realize that there are people out there who don't even have basic needs.
- Model a positive attitude yourself. It's ok for your kids to know you have wants, but make sure you talk about what you're grateful for as well.
- Don't let Christmas creep into Thanksgiving. Spend the time before Thanksgiving practicing intentional gratitude. Make thank-you cards for teachers and other adults in your kids' lives. Make a thank-you board for the family to remind yourself of all your blessings.

You can't completely eliminating wanting things, but you can balance it out with gratitude for what you and your family already have.

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