“Promoting a Spirit of Gratefulness in Kids…” on NBC’s Parent Toolkit


Check out my article “Promoting a Spirit of Gratefulness in Kids – A Tale of Two Letters” on today’s NBC Parent Toolkit Blog. It recounts an experience with my own son, relates it to the research on raising grateful kids and offers a number of simple ways to promote gratitude. Why should we be concerned with promoting gratefulness in our kids? It can contribute to a child’s sense of well-being, desire to contribute to family life today and hope for their future. Why not seize the opportunity of Thanksgiving to begin a thankfulness ritual or routine in your family? Here’s how the article begins and I hope you’ll visit Parent Toolkit for the full article. I am so grateful for your participation in this community of parents who value social and emotional learning! Happy Thanksgiving!

Promoting a Spirit of Gratefulness in Kids – A Tale of Two Letters

In the past week, my eight year old son E has been busily writing letters and researching their content. “What excellent academic practice!” I might typically think. But in this case, I did not. Instead the “Dear Santa” letter followed by “Dear Grandma, Mom, Dad and Guy-down-the street, I want the following presents…” turned my happy boy into a grumpy one. I noticed his mind was consumed with what he wanted and didn’t have. He was coming down with a pretty intense case of the “Galloping Greedy Gimmies” as the Berenstain Bears so aptly refer to it. And I began to worry that it might turn into a seasonal trend over the coming weeks.

I was hoping a family ritual would protect him against the “gimmies.” Each November, we take time out in the evenings as a family before bedtime to talk about what we are thankful for. We write down our specific thoughts for the day and put the notes into a felt tree that hangs on our wall as we countdown to Thanksgiving. That nightly tradition gives us the chance to talk about the spirit of giving and gratefulness for the season. We all have hopes for toys or gifts that may come. But if we really want to join in the spirit of the season regardless of what holidays we celebrate in the coming months, the themes are universal. They are to feel the love we share between family and friends and to celebrate the goodness we already enjoy in our lives. Read the full article.


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