What’s that? Sometimes kids can be ungrateful when opening holiday gifts? No. (Gasp.) Never. How to raise grateful kids who appreciate each and every gift they may get in the era of me-me-me and get-get-get? Smack ’em over the head. (Just kidding. Kinda.)
Truth be told, my girls are really good girls — sure, they slip as all kids do, but I stay ON them to make sure that random slip-ups of ungrateful behavior don’t become habit.
I remember Christmas mornings when I was a little kid, and (gasp) I think there were a few times when I opened a gift and made some remark about “this isn’t exactly like the one I asked for.” (I cringe writing this truth, but I think I’ve improved myself since then.) Before you write me off as an ungrateful brat, I’ll have you know that my parents promptly put me in my place. Let’s just say a pair of earrings once got thrown into the pool by one of my parents because I stupidly said something less-then absolutely thankful upon opening the beautiful gift. Point made instantly and immediately. I learned my lesson. (And yes, I’ve been known to do similar things with my kids too, just to keep them on top of their nice-game…)
Memories like this, as well as the ongoing parenting debates and conversations about how to raise grateful and appreciative kids, inspired me to tackle this topic on one of my recent CBS Los Angeles FAB Mom segments. Take a peek:
Get that? Don’t apologize for any kind of gift… ever. Saying thank you to someone is not an option. Get our kids to give something to someone… even if it’s a single flower that you’re walking over to the cute little old lady next door just to say hello and happy holidays. These small acts add up. Consistency, people.
If we don’t keep our kids in check in the gratitude department, Christmas, holidays, birthdays and all other kinds of future gift-receiving situations are at risk. (“This isn’t what I wanted!” screamed the bratty child in front of guests…)
Even Santa is sick of this entitled children crap. I recently found out about a fun new app — just in time for Christmas — called Portable North Pole (PNP). I happen to think it’s adorable and hysterical and sweet and sassy all at the same time (I mentioned it on another segment — watch it here). Basically, you send Santa a picture of your child, what kinds of behavior traits you’re working on at home these days and then HE sends your kid a big message about being nice to siblings, picking up toys, brushing teeth along with a very commanding question of “Do you think you can try hard enough to make these things happen?” The app is free, but you can also purchase an option ($8.99-12.99) that tells your kids whether they’re currently on Santa’s nice or naughty list. (Santa donates 5% of all proceeds to children’s hospitals worldwide.) Let’s just say my daughter has been picking up her toys lately. Score for the man in the big red suit. Hey, I’ll use every trick in the book.
Some other fun phrases to toss around the house?
You get what you get and you don’t get upset! (I used to use this all the time, then recently forgot about it… until my friend and colleague Erin of At Home With The Zierings recently reminded me! Aha! That phrase is back in heavy rotation right now.)
Less bad-ittude, more gratitude! One of my best friends from elementary school reminded me of this via Facebook. She’s a teacher, too, so she knows what she’s talking about.
And, another fab friend of mine does a big wham-bam of a song-and-dance to make sure her kids get the message: If/when one of her darlings acts ungrateful, she quickly says “that didn’t sound very grateful,” mimics ‘rewind’ music and suggests the kid try again after she walks out of the room and then walks back to give a fresh start (ie: rewind!). I adore this. ADORE IT.
How do you keep your kids in check, super nice and extra grateful during the holidays?
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