Wondering how you can encourage your children to be thankful? Here are five tips to breed thankfulness.
Gratitude is one of the most essential feelings or shall we say, life skills, when it comes to the quality of life and the amount of happiness we have in our lives. It could even be said that our happiness directly depends on how grateful we are. Therefore it is very important to teach our kids how to be thankful from the early age. Here are some tips that might help you do just that.
Make giving thanks a daily routine
Like anything else, learning requires repetition and consistency, so it is best to create a habit of expressing thankfulness. It is probably the best idea to do it on a daily basis together with your kid and create a routine out of it, something that is normal and natural. You could do it at dinner time or before bed by simply asking your kid what they are grateful for that day, and if they can’t come up with anything, give them examples.
Model the desired behavior
Children learn by copying the behavior of the adults’ that are around, so the best thing you can do is to be the living embodiment of the attitudes and actions you want to instill. If you are expecting your kids to do something you are not doing yourself, it won’t work. Be aware of how you behave towards members of your family, to neighbors, friends, strangers, and show your kids how it is done. Express your gratitude to the people around you and especially to your kids. In your daily thankfulness practice, tell them about the things you are grateful for and encourage them to do the same.
Let them write thank you notes
Teach them that every gift and act of goodness towards them needs to be responded to with thankfulness, be it cookies from the neighbor, new shoes from grandma or praise for a well done chore from you. Saying thank you is a must, but for bigger things, they can also write thank you notes or make little thank you trinkets. If they can’t write yet, drawing a picture is perfectly fine. As long as there is an exchange of present-gratitude, they are doing well.
Teach them using their world
Kids don’t understand abstract ethical standards, and the more you can get into their world of wonder, games and toys, the better of you will be. For example, most boys are obsessed with superheroes and most girls are obsessed with princesses. You can use that as your platform, talk about what superheroes and princesses have to be thankful for, like amazing castles and their kingdom, surviving in battles, mighty victories, being good warriors and so on. You can even arrange for them to have a superhero or army party for their birthday and let them be a superhero or a princess for a while reminding them one of the things every princess and superhero does is express their gratitude for all the presents they got.
Donate and volunteer
Another good way to help your kids realize they have many things to be thankful for is to show them that there are other kids who are in need. Take them along when you donate old toys and clothes, choose a charity to support and do it together with your kid. Expose them to different cultures in the world and sponsor a child in Africa together.
It is not always easy for kids to be thankful, but practice makes perfect and thankful kids will become thankful adults. Have patience with them and be thankful they are in your life!
About the Author:
Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls and she loves spending quality time with them. When sheorganized awesome nerf birthday party for her eldest daughter, she realized that parties have huge effect on child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”