Just because the world shut down in 2020, doesn’t mean Americans stopped shopping. In fact, we spent over $790 billion online last year. That’s up 32.4% from 2019. A figure that is as shocking to e-commerce experts as it is to you and me.
What does this tell us? Even in the midst of a pandemic, Americans are big-time consumers. In fact, we probably consume more during times of stress, anxiety, and difficulty than during non-pandemic times.
These numbers might look depressing to you, but I think they present an excellent opportunity for parents this holiday season.
With Thanksgiving upon us, what better time to teach your child the antidote to our American obsession with having more, more, more: giving thanks and giving back?
When we instill in our children an attitude of gratitude and the spirit of giving, we are giving them an invaluable gift. A posture of gratitude and a habit of giving to others—whether that’s with money, resources, or time—will serve your child well in adulthood. It will strengthen her character, teach her humility, and help her go far in life while caring for others along the way.
Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our kids. This is why we have to teach our children to say thank you. They aren’t going to do it on their own.
This isn’t your child’s fault. It’s simply how children develop. We are wired to be egocentric, especially when we’re young. To children, it feels like the world revolves around them. Their needs are what they think of, not others, so they don’t think to be grateful for what they have.
This is why it’s so important to teach your child to resist this natural instinct, consider those around them, and notice the numerous things they have to be grateful for each day: family, friends, food, playing outside.
Use Thanksgiving and the days leading up to it, to make a gratitude list with your child. Each day ask what he is thankful for and add it to the list. Keep the list up on the fridge or somewhere the whole family can see it.
As your child sees the list get longer and longer, he will realize all he has to be grateful for and he will develop a daily habit of gratitude, which will be incredibly beneficial to him now and as he grows into an adult.