One Simple Gratitude Activity for Kids Will Re-Focus Your Family this Season

It's the holiday season! While it's full of lots of joy and fond memories, it can also be full of a lot of "gimme" and "I want" from our kids too. This year, I have really tried to focus more on encouraging my kids to think more about giving and kindness. It is a BIG challenge at times, I admit. My 8-year-old comes home almost every day with stories of what his friends at school are supposedly getting for Christmas. Then the "I want" begins all over again.

The One Simple Activity that Will Focus Your Kids on Gratitude this Season {plus a FREE printable to help}
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In such a culture, consumption has become a lifestyle. I feel this type of lifestyle breeds ungratefulness and that is one thing I do not want my kids to absorb from culture. As this author points out, "If your brain is focused on what you don't have, then you'll be unhappy." At some basic level, we all want our kids to be happy. I'm hoping that focusing on gratitude instead of consumption will help them develop a sense of deeper happiness that is long-lasting and meaningful.

So I'm determined not to give up. And the research supports my endeavors--studies show that acts of compassion actually do spark elements of brain chemistry that support good feelings. Furthermore, in one fascinating study, kids as young as 2 were rated as being happier when they chose to give one of their treats away to a puppet friend.

Related post: Gift Guide for Raising Kids Who Care  
I was reflecting on this when I came across a great article that mentioned a reverse bucket list. The idea is to list activities that we did in the past that brought us joy and contentment. I'm hoping just the conversation itself will inspire a sense of gratitude. Then, of course, if we feel like doing these things again, that's great.

The whole idea of this simple gratitude activity is helping kids focus on the idea that the toys, experiences, family that they have is ENOUGH. This is a lesson I need to learn too, of course.

Related post: We Want Our Kids to be Kind...But How Do We Foster It

Many holiday posts are filled with ideas for new and exciting places to see or things to do. All these things that we "must" do before winter break is over. This year, in lieu of the winter "bucket list" I've decided to put together the Reverse Winter Bucket List. Here are a few ideas my boys came up with of things that they have loved doing in years past:

1. Watch Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer (the old-fashioned version of course)
2. Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights

The One Simple Activity that Will Focus Your Kids on Gratitude this Season {plus a FREE printable to help}

3. Go to our favorite pond and go ice skating (if it actually gets cold enough to freeze)

The One Simple Activity that Will Focus Your Kids on Gratitude this Season {plus a FREE printable to help}

4. Decorate gingerbread people
5. Go see a living nativity scene
6. Go to a children's Christmas music concert
7. Make little presents for friends (my 8-year-old is WAY into origami)
8. Sledding on our neighborhood hill (if we ever get snow!)

It's amazing what happens when we focus on what we have (and help our kids to the same), instead of what we want. Gratitude and contentment abound!

Enjoy a lovely season with your kids!

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