Teaching Kids to be Thankful & Grateful
Instilling the attitude for gratitude and thankfulness is an important building block for children to learn. This will help them grow up to be emotionally intelligent adults who are able to create and maintain healthy, life-long relationships. In today’s world of instant gratification and expensive material possessions, raising a child that is thankful and able to express gratitude toward others is not an impossible fete, but parents must be sure to stop and take a minute to show their children how to be thankful and grateful.
Teaching thankfulness & gratitude starts at home
Modeling gratitude and thankfulness starts at home; parents are a child’s first teacher. If the child observes you saying “please” and “thank you” they will begin to follow your lead and express this to others. Acknowledge and appreciate your spouse/partner for doing small tasks like cooking dinner, washing the car, laundry, or taking out the trash. Sometimes in the journey of teaching our children about thankfulness, parents must remember to say “thank you” to our children as well. This s extremely powerful for our children to see and it helps to reinforce the desired behavior.
Why is important for children to be grateful
Is it very that important for children to learn how to express thankfulness and gratitude? Absolutely! Children who express thankfulness and gratitude often grow up to become grateful adults. Being grateful toward others is wonderful for the soul. Learning to be grateful and seeing the positive is an important skill for children to learn. Try to show your thankfulness and gratitude towards others as soon as possible- never wait!
Ways to show gratitude to others
Showing gratitude to others can be done in very simple ways for children at each age. Teach them to look gratitude and being mindful to express their thankfulness and gratitude to others:
- Since they are not able to write quite yet, encourage them to draw a picture as a “thank you” for a gift they may have received from a friend or family member
- Take a moment and be thankful for the weather “Thank you, Mr. Sun!”
- Elementary School-Age:
- Around the holidays, focus on sharing the gift of giving by participating in toy/clothing drives
- Share your gratitude during bedtime- what things are you're grateful for today?
- Middle School:
- Help out around the house without being told—taking care of small tasks such as walking the dog, feed the pets, clean their room or do the dishes
- Write a letter to someone who you are thankful for that has helped you in a big way.
- High School:
At this age, teenagers are able to be more intentional about outward expressions of gratitude. Try volunteering within the community at a food bank, animal shelter, church, or retirement home. These opportunities are great to feature on a future college application or resume.
What are you grateful for? What are ways that you can express your gratitude every day?
www.happyfamily.com – How to practice and teach gratitude
www.greatergood.berkeley.edu – What parents neglect to teach about gratitude