Thanksgiving seems to be an especially appropriate time to focus on a few time-honored methods for fostering gratitude in your children.

Soon, you’ll be watching your child’s face light up as she unwraps that perfect gift. The one you’ve scoured the stores for; the one she’s been dreaming of for months.

blogAnd nothing can ruin such a moment faster than your child still wanting more. But with the constant barrage of TV ads and circulars screaming “buy me!” at every turn, is it really a wonder that today, gratitude seems to be in short supply pretty much everywhere you go.

That’s why it’s increasingly important to instill a sense of gratitude not just during the holiday season, but and all year long.

Be a role-model. Take the time to show gratitude yourself. Be thankful for the people and things around you. Perform random acts of kindness in front of your children, and involve them in the process. Collect food, toys, and clothing for those less fortunate than you.

Say “no”. While giving in to your preschooler’s demands at the grocery store might buy you a moment of peace, it will also foster a sense of entitlement if done on a regular basis. Instead, set the stage before heading out. Let your child now you are buying only the items on your list. If he or she asks for a toy or candy bar during the trip, just say “Not today, but maybe next time,” but mean it.

Take the focus off of gift-giving. Make the holidays about family traditions and rituals. Show them what this time of year is really about – spending time with loved ones and being thankful for what we have. That doesn’t no gifts or no Santa, it simply means injecting a sense of balance.

Say “thank you”. A heartfelt thank you goes a long way. Ask your children to send handwritten thank-you notes to friends and family after receiving a gift. If they’re too young to write, have them draw a picture instead.

Here at Burton, we’re extremely grateful for the loyalty shown by the many thousands of local families and business owners who continue to entrust us with their indoor comfort needs. Thanks to all of you, from all of us. And Happy Holidays, too!