What does Thanks…Giving Mean Anyway?

Question from a parent of three:

“Thanksgiving always reminds me to count my blessings.  But I find myself at a loss when it comes to teaching my children how to be grateful.  It seems like even though they say “Thanks” when they get something it is quick and insincere”.

Answer:

The “Give to Get Rule” is always worth repeating this time of year.  Remember every time you give your child a toy or when they get a big turkey dinner, it is your chance to model for them how to be grateful.

It is never too young to start a family ritual of ALWAYS giving away one of their unused toys to someone less fortunate than themselves, when they get a new one.

But, don’t just bundle up the toys in a bag and leave it on the street curb for ‘the truck’ to pick up.  Because, what this means to a child is that ‘the truck’ took my toys!

Instead take your child’s hand and walk with them into a childcare center or half-way house for abused & neglected children and have your child actually hand over their toy into the hands of another child.  Do the same with a turkey dinner to one of your neighbors who otherwise wouldn’t have one this holiday season.  The look of joy and appreciation on another child’s face will make a lifelong memory for your child.

How parents show gratitude themselves has everything to do with how kids learn the importance and joys of giving themselves. So give back wherever and whenever you can and make sure your kids are watching!

I am truly grateful for all of you and your amazing families…Happy Thanksgiving, Dr. Ann

P.S. For words of wisdom from Dr. Bill Sears this holiday season check out www.askdrsears.com!

“Studies have shown that people that are grateful are healthier because they often feel happier, are more optimistic, take better care of themselves, have stronger immune systems and have a brighter outlook on the future”.  -Dr. Bill