Once we cleaned up the Thanksgiving dishes, we would move her room around a bit and set up a 3-foot Christmas tree.
We would place the tree skirt around the base and hold the ornaments out to her to choose where to place them.
As I pushed my shopping cart through the aisles of Target, loaded with her new tree, ornaments, and tree skirt, I could imagine her delight at falling asleep looking at the lights and dreaming of all of the magic that Christmas holds.
As I paid the cashier, the only thing that pulled me from my thoughts were these words…
“Mommy, you didn’t buy me anything exciting. I want a new toy.”
And in that moment, I actually considered canceling my transaction and bringing her home empty handed.
But, I was certain that once we got out of the store, she’d be grateful for all that I did buy her.
I was wrong.
Her ingratitude continued the entire way home, as she alternated between pouting and complaining.
Katie has always been the most grateful child and lately, we’ve seen a change in her.
I’ll be the first to admit that Craig and I have a pretty long list of what we expect from her and gratitude is pretty high up on the list.
As much as I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be putting her tree up right away, I know that we have to make her earn it. I know that it’s our responsibility to ensure that she grows into the kind of adult who we would want to know.
So, I gathered her up her ornaments and grabbed a bowl and a jar.
After dumping all of the ornaments into the bowl, I explained to her how things would work…
For each act of kindness or expression of gratitude, she earns an ornament.
Each time she is unkind or ungrateful, we remove one.
Once her jar is full, we will put up her tree.
We’re hoping to have it up by Christmas.
How do you teach gratitude at your house?
Have you ever had to use a similar method?
Who knew parenting would be so difficult?