It’s happened to many parents. Your child receives a less than ideal gift from grandma and before you have a second to react your child is already telling gran they hate it. Listen, children do not come into the world with a thankful heart. Fortunately, the holiday season offers us the opportunity to engage our children in activities to emphasize thankfulness and gratitude.
1. Start with something easy.
Teaching gratitude can begin at an early age. Event toddlers understand that mom, dad, grandma, teachers, and friends do things for them. Start by enforcing simple “pleases” and “thank you’s” to set the stage for your little ones. And don’t forget your pleases and thank you’s Mom and Dad. Kids learn by watching others.
2. Make it a daily ritual.
Teaching children to be thankful can be a daily ritual. Simply sharing the good things that have happened that day is a great way to help your children see the positives in their lives. Another great daily ritual is bedtime prayers. It’s always important to pray with your children but verbalizing our blessings and encouraging our children to pray for others helps them put being thankful into action.
3. Do good together.
There are plenty of easy and fun things you can do with your children to demonstrate gratitude. Here are some ideas:
- Send postcards to friends, family, teachers etc. with a few thankful words.
- Make a thankful tree. Each night someone in the family adds a leaf detailing something they are thankful for.
- Donate or give time to those less fortunate. This is always a really great way to show your children all they have to be grateful for.
An attitude of gratitude isn’t a given for our children. But fortunately for us, it’s easy to teach.