In January, most people are all about avoiding the topic of money. Everyone feels “spent”. This month, focus on being grateful for what has been given to you and yours. I think the best part of giving is hearing what the receiver thinks about the gift. I’m excited to see their response. It helps me know that my time and money spent on others hit the mark – and that reinforces my own generous spirit. So, reinforce someone’s generous spirit and get the paper, markers, crayons and dribs and drabs of the holiday wrappings and make some thank you cards and start sending.

For older kids, sit down at the computer with them and help them send an email thank you. (I personally draw the line at email. A text screams “can’t be bothered” to me!) For teens, just hand them a list of those you know they’ve received gifts from so that they can keep track of who is to be thanked. The thank you “list” is a good habit to introduce. My own girls use it to this day to make sure they do not forget people who have been good to them over the holiday season.

You have heard me talk about how instilling gratitude is a real gift for your children. It helps them lead healthier lives. “Kids who experience higher levels of gratitude also have: stronger immune functioning, more and better friendships, higher pay, more energy, more optimism, more happiness, sounder sleep, fewer addictions.” Kit Yarrow, Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy.

So, now, teach the habit of thank you notes by helping your kids send a few. Create some alongside your child because we know that what we do – our children will do – eventually. And get ready for the glow of gratitude to shine from you and your kids. After all, putting the gratitude in our attitude is an equal opportunity benefit.

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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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