Have you ever noticed all the wonderful side effects of gratitude?
When people are in the consistent habit of recognizing blessings, and actively expressing gratitude, the positive effects ripple out into their entire lives!
They tend to complain less, they tend to be a little humbler, and they are more likely to be generous.
It’s no wonder we parents all strive to raise grateful kids!
This is particularly essential at Christmas. As all of the free stuff falls into our children’s laps regardless of their behavior, attitude, or work ethic, we must balance the scales with an extra emphasis on gratitude.
I remember the first year I made this deal with my little ones . . .
“You can unwrap all your gifts, but you can’t play with the toys, wear the clothes, or read the books until after you’ve written a thank you note.”
I had heard this idea from a friend, and had every intention of following through, but unfortunately . . . two things went wrong.
First, I lost track of who gave which gift! Yikes!
Relatives were handing my kiddos packages faster than I could handle. Not to mention the other distractions of opening my own gifts and watching others open the gifts I’d given them.
We ended up with a trunk-load of stuff and no idea who gave what. It took me a lot of phone calls to figure it all out – not fun.
Second, it was far too difficult for the kids to write every single note.
They knew how to write full sentences, but I hadn’t realized how much work it would be for them to write a few sentences, and I hadn’t realized how many they would have to write.
I needed the act to be more than just calling out in that same old sing-song voice “Thank you Grammie!” Do you know the one I mean? That baby-ish tone of voice that makes it painfully obvious the child is merely obeying Mommy’s orders? That kind of half-hearted thank you doesn’t count.
Written cards require a little effort, which is a very good thing. At the same time, the work can’t be so cumbersome that the child begrudges writing them. I needed a happy medium.
Do you find yourself in this same situation this Christmas? If you would love to make it easier to get your kiddos to practice expressing gratitude, you’ll love this helpful set of free templates!
The first page is the CHRISTMAS GIFT TRACKER
If your kids are going to be opening a bunch of gifts all in one day, make sure you tell them to show you each present with its tag before opening the next one. This not only gives you time to write down the giver and the gift, it also gives you a chance to point out the giver to your child.
“Do you remember which one is Auntie C? She’s sitting right over there.” If Auntie C is not with you, bring up a picture of her on your phone or computer.
It is very important to remind our kids over and over that these presents do not magically appear. A real person knows them, loves them, thought of what they might like, went shopping for them, and spent money on them. This is a person who deserves your gratitude!
Next you will find easy to use FILL-IN-THE-BLANK THANK YOU POSTCARDS
These cards work for any writing ability level!
The example above is from a boy just learning to write. He practices writing his name and Mommy fills in the rest.
Even a child who hasn’t learned to write letters yet can still contribute by coloring the gift box!
The purpose of these cards is to get your child to connect the gift with the giver, and to contribute to the expression of thanks, and (most importantly) to do this before enjoying that particular gift.
I have also included BLANK THANK YOU POSTCARDS if you prefer.
Print as many pages as you want of whichever kind works best for your kiddos. Use thick card stock paper and conveniently send them off post-card style! No envelopes needed!
Scroll to the end of this article to download yours before the gifts start rolling in!
I hope these freebies help make it easier to combat the negative pull of entitlement with the positive intentional practice of gratitude.