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Most children are so wrapped up in unwrapping gifts that they often forget the true spirit of the holiday and Christmas season. With that in mind and the holiday season fast approaching, parenting and child development expert Denise Daniels offers simple, yet effective ways for parents to teach young children an “attitude of gratitude,” while instilling emotional intelligence (EQ) skills needed for them to thrive in our ever-changing world.
Teach the spirit of giving by taking advantage of teachable moments during the holidays- It’s important to show children that the holidays are not only about receiving, but also about giving. We can teach kids compassion and empathy skills by helping others in need. Reaching out to others sends children a powerful message about giving.
- Visit a toy store and have your child choose a toy to donate for a child of the same age.
- Prepare a meal together and deliver it together to a homeless shelter or food bank.
- Coat drives are a great way to provide warm clothing for those less fortunate during the winter months.
- A holiday card has special meaning to men and women in the Armed Forces who are thousands of miles away from their families during the holiday season. Make handmade cards and mail them together at the Post Office. Giving as a family not only teaches children the value of giving, but that giving can be just as fun as getting!
Lead by example- You can teach children empathy and compassion by modeling those behaviors.
- Bake cookies together to share with an elderly neighbor.
- Tell the people around you what makes them special and why they mean so much to you.
- Hold a family meeting to choose a charity they would like to support
- Teach young children to say “please” and “thank-you.” For older children, writing thank-you notes shows children how to demonstrate their gratitude to the gift-giver.
Give your children face time– Talk with your children about the importance of giving and sharing in a meaningful way.
- Share your personal stories about giving over the years. Read positive stories about giving that appear on the news or in magazines during the holiday season.
- Family activities such as playing board games, baking cookies together and decorating your home for the holidays are all fun activities that showcase the spirit of the season and the importance of family.
- Invite a neighbor who is alone to join your family for a meal or for some egg-nog and cookies.
Denise Daniels has a wealth of knowledge about the social and emotional development in children. She recently collaborated with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to create a curriculum exclusively for The Moodsters, a new children’s brand designed to help kids learn how to understand and manage their emotions. The Moodsters, featuring five lovable characters, each depicting a different emotion teaches simple strategies to build emotional intelligence skills. This groundbreaking property is slated to launch in late 2015 and will include apps, books, toys, digital content and more.
About Denise Daniels:
Daniels is a Peabody award-winning broadcast journalist, parenting and child development expert and author who specializes in the social and emotional development of children. Her books have reached more than 15 million parents and children offering practical, simple and essential advice on how to deal with grief, loss and family transitions, as well as the everyday challenges of growing up. Denise hosted her own daily parenting show, Parents Helper, on NBC’s cable network has appeared on numerous morning and primetime TV shows including Oprah, The View and was a regular contributor on TODAY.