“When parents share the true meaning of the holiday season, and model kindness, generosity, and an ‘attitude of gratitude,’ children learn to be empathetic and altruistic individuals—which promotes their own happiness!”
5 Tips Toward “More Giving and Less Gimme” This Holiday Season
- Clarify your own values. Decide what’s important to you as parents: family togetherness? community engagement? religious traditions and rituals? Make sure your holiday activities and gift-giving reflect your values, not commercial ones!
- Manage gift expectations. Start the conversation early in the season. First, validate their feelings (“I understand this toy is something you really want”), then let them know, gently, why it’s not possible this year. Young children may respond to the idea that “Santa is trying to reach children all over the world who have lost so much, so we need to help him make room in his sleigh.”
- Focus on the giving, not the getting. Help your child make handmade gifts for people important to them (Pinterest is loaded with great ideas). Include your children in giving time and donations to others in need. Examples include Toys for Tots, local food pantries and family shelters, UNICEF USA, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Salvation Army.
- Model appreciation. Instead of the frenzied “unwrapathon,” demonstrate taking time to open and appreciate each gift. Thank gift-givers with written or hand-drawn notes.
- Create holiday memories that are not about gifts. Give your children real face-time. Curl up on the couch together to watch movies, go sledding or hiking, bake cookies, play board games. Make handmade holiday cards for the men and women in the military serving overseas, far from their families—they’ll love getting a little piece of home.
For additional resources this holiday season, parents can visit https://themoodsters.com/ for free downloadable content. Additionally, the research-based workbook Bounce Forward With The Moodsters: A Guide for Kids on Finding Your Strong, Resilient Self equips grownups to help children identify their own strengths and develop resilience skills that enable them to bounce forward after isolation, loss, and emotional challenges.
DENISE DANIELS, RN, MS
Denise Daniels, creator of the groundbreaking children’s brand The Moodsters, is a Peabody award-winning journalist, author, and parenting and child-development expert dedicated to putting young children on the path to positive mental health. She created The Moodsters—five quirky little feelings detectives who solve the mysteries of emotions—to help children develop the resilience skills and emotional literacy that will enable them to thrive. Denise’s books have reached more than 15 million children, are available in seven languages, and are used by school districts, nonprofits, NGOs, homeless shelters, mental-health clinics, military-based schools, and, of course, families worldwide.
SOURCE The Moodsters