Kids these days can often take things for granted when they come to expect modern comforts like phones and other devices that can cost hundreds of dollars. Learning to be thankful or grateful is a skill that lasts a lifetime that leads to more optimistic and resilient mindsets. Here’s our helpful tips to start teaching kids thankfulness.
Teaching kids to say “Thank You” isn’t just good manners. It encourages the verbal expression of gratitude. Begin by gently reminding kids to say “Thank You” for simple and small things and reinforce those good manners with positive reinforcement and praise. Ask them how it makes them feel when someone does something kind for them.
Talk About It
Make a habit of mindful gratitude and thankfulness. Pick a time of day, perhaps around the dinner table or at bedtime, and practice gratitude daily as a family. Talk about what it means to be thankful. Remember that gratitude has four parts.
By modeling gratitude, you are setting the example that your children will want to replicate in their own lives. Express gratitude often when your children act in kindness. When your child creates art for you, express gratitude. When they help with chores unprompted, tell them you appreciate them.
Spread That Joy
Teach your children to express appreciation for others. These can be acts like writing a thank you note or doing a chore for a loved one who shows up to every piano recital. Explore the multitude of other ways people can express gratitude and appreciation, talk about love languages and how people receive and show love to further their emotional intelligence. Teach children that gratitude isn’t reserved just for people they know in every-day life. Gratitude can be shown to community service members, first responders and others too.
By bringing the family together for gratitude projects, your child will learn to work with others and communicate ideas of how to show gratitude. You could suggest a family gratitude board, where every family member can add a note whenever they feel thankful. At the end of the week, at family dinner or family game night, the notes can be read aloud to share that attitude of gratitude. You could also plan gratitude projects for members of the community, as simple as making baked goods for the local fire department, dropping off Starbucks gift cards for nurses at your local ER.