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Mr. Z – Children learn gratitude, empathy by mimicking their parents

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - This time of year, jolly ol' Saint Nick is the most popular guy around. But how do you teach your children that the holiday season is about more than getting toys? Early childhood expert Steve Zwolak (“Mr. Z”) visits KPLR 11 News at Noon to discuss how parents can engender feelings of gratitude in their young children.

1. Show thankfulness to your children. It is easy to forget, but important to do.

2. Involve your children in writing thank you notes.

3. Prompt children to use thankful words. Thankfulness is a complex idea; it will be a while before your child truly gets it. Reminding children to say "please" and "thank you" beginning at 18 months is a good start.

4. Begin traditions for showing thanks. These traditions give children lifetime memories of gratefulness and giving in the context of family. ideas:

5. Read books about what it means to be thankful. Books help children make sense of ideas. Share stories over time because your child's understanding of a book at 14 months will be different at 2 years of age.

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