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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to congress. Also on our rundown: more evidence that the rent is too, damn, high; Marathon County braces for sulfide mining; and the focus on recycling this weekend for Earth Day in North Dakota.

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Expert: 'Tis Always the Season for Gratitude

PHOTO: Taking the time to help children write thank-you notes is one way experts say parents can help foster an attitude of gratitude year-round. Photo credit: mensatic/morguefile.com
PHOTO: Taking the time to help children write thank-you notes is one way experts say parents can help foster an attitude of gratitude year-round. Photo credit: mensatic/morguefile.com
January 9, 2015

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Now that the gifts have been opened and enjoyed and the tree has come down, there's still one holiday task experts say parents need to tackle: helping kids show gratitude for what they've received.

In today's tech-driven world, handwritten thank-you notes have become somewhat of a lost art, said Michigan State University Extension educator Gail Innis, but along with strengthening vocabulary and writing they teach kids important life skills.

"Just being able to talk about and express their emotions about what they received," she said. "And maybe it isn't their favorite gift. Maybe it was six packs of socks from great-grandma, but you can talk about how they might keep them warm and on these cold days, and wasn't that thoughtful of grandma?"

Innis said even very young children who can't write thank-you notes on their own can still get into the habit by coloring pictures or at least signing their names. She recommended that parents seek out children's books on gratitude from the local library as a way to begin the conversation.

She said developing a grateful spirit early on will give kids an important coping strategy they'll be able to use throughout their lives.

"People increase positive emotions and decrease depressive symptoms when they think about things they're grateful for," she said. "And we know if we start these habits young, that it really can improve their emotions. "

Whether it's Christmas gifts, birthday presents or just being thankful for a warm home on a cold day, Innis said, gratitude is something parents need to both model and teach regularly, "making it a year-round thing. I think an 'attitude of gratitude' isn't a one-time thing, and it certainly isn't just one season of the year."

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI