How to teach gratitude in kids during the Holidays


Many times all kids think about during holiday time is gifts.  It doesn’t matter what religion you practice or even if you don’t, it’s important to teach our children that holidays are more than gifts.  You want to teach this lesson early and continue as they grow.  Continue to teach gratitude in your kids during the holiday season.


You don’t want your child becoming greedy and upset that they didn’t get exactly what they want.  Getting gifts can be fun and special but should never be the focus.  Giving can be very rewarding.



How to teach gratitude in your kids during the Holidays. Many times all kids think about during holiday time is gifts.  It's important to teach our children that holidays are more than gifts.  You want to teach this lesson early and continue as they grow.  Continue to teach gratitude in your kids during the holiday season.
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Here are tips to keep kids happy while teaching them gratitude.


How to raise an appreciative child


1. Careful with Gifts


How to teach gratitude to your kids during the holidays.

  • If your child believes in Santa, make sure that only 1 or 2 gifts come from Santa and not all the gifts.  By limiting the number of gifts that a child gets from Santa will help your child understand that their parents worked hard to get them something they would like.  It also helps once they stop believing.
  • Don’t go gift crazy.  You don’t need to get your children dozens of gifts in the name of a Holiday.  Keep gifts simple and meaningful.
  • Try to give a gift of an experience.  This will teach your child that everything doesn’t have to come in a package.  “Happiness doesn’t come from packages and bows. The Grinch”

Some of the best gifts are ones that you can do together.  Read more about Non-toys gifts here.

  • Have your child give a gift.  If they have toys they no longer play with, let them pick toys to donate or pass on to a sibling or cousin.  We have my older son do this each year.  Children can see you don’t have to go and buy a gift for someone, you can share what you no longer need.



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2. Have kids help


Even the little ones can help


  • All during the year kids should be helping around the house.  Doing chores that they can handle.  During the holidays, things sometimes get a little crazy. There is extra work to do- preparing foods, cleaning, getting out decorations.  We don’t and shouldn’t do it all.  KIds should be part of the process.  Having kids help makes them feel included and teaches responsibility.


  • Let them decorate, set the table, wrap presents or put gifts in a bag.  Kids will love being able to help mom or dad.  Here are glow in the dark gift bags that kids will get excited about.


3. Keep routines


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  • I’m a big believer in routines.  It helps with structure and kids then know what to expect.  During holiday times it can be hard to keep your normal routines.  Bedtime may be later or they may not shower that night, it’s ok. Many times when a routine is changed it upset the child, especially if they are toddlers. Try to keep as much as you can constant.  Your family won’t judge you from leaving early or excusing yourself to go help your kids have wind down time before bed.


Raising a Grateful Child 


4. Remember they are kids


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  • Some holiday festivities require kids to be on their best behavior.  It may be sitting at a service, a lengthy meal, or being at someone’s house with no other kids.  Kids should be with the family and be apart for all those events.  Remember though that when you want to sit and talk after eating, kids are done and want to get up.  If you are in a space where it’s ok, let your kids get up when you feel it’s time.  This will ease children’s frustration and make the night more enjoyable for all.



5. Manners Matter


Teaching gratitude to your kids during the holidays.

  • As you teach manners all year, holidays are a time when they see many people and need to remember their manners.  Just a brief reminder should be all your kid needs.





  1. Beth says:

    These are great ideas. I try to ask children what gifts they are giving instead of what they want to receive.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Asking your kids what they are giving is a wonderful way to have them be a part of the giving process. When kids decide what they will give away it gives them a sense of independence and then they are not upset when they no longer see that toy anymore.

  2. What a great post about children having gratitude during the holidays! You have great tips and reminders for parents. Especially about the stress of gift giving. I actually have been wanting to have my own kids donate their toys as well.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Teaching gratitude in kids during the holidays can sometimes be pushed aside. People forget that children see parents buying and wrapping presents and running to the stores. It doesn’t have to be hard to have them be appreciative and grateful. My son is giving his old car tracks to his brother and my little one is giving an animal toy to his baby cousin. Have a wonderful holiday!

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