With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many are focused on gratefulness and giving thanks. Going around the table at Thanksgiving and saying what you are thankful for is one tradition that many families practice. But what about the other 364 days of the year? What if you put this thankful tradition into practice year-round? You can’t teach your kids to be thankful in one day, but you can help to foster a grateful attitude all year.
It starts with you.
The best way to teach your children something, is to model the behavior yourself. If you want your kids to read, let them see you curled up reading a book for enjoyment. In a similar fashion, daily voice your own gratitude for all the blessings in your life. Demonstrate your gratefulness through acts of service in your community, church or neighborhood to inspire your kids to develop a greater worldview.
More than manners.
Please and thank you are very important words to impart to your children, but how do you also cultivate a spirit of thankfulness? Very young children may just be taught to parrot these words, but you can still help your kids discover the deeper meaning. Thank you is not just an appropriate response, you can help your kids understand the meaning through explanation and cultivating a lifelong habit. Help your kids write thank you notes after receiving a gift, encourage them to think of something nice they might like to do for others. The process of coloring a picture, crafting a necklace or creating an art project to give to someone else helps your child to think about others.
Be thankful in all times.
A true attitude of gratitude is about being thankful throughout good and bad times. When you or one of your children face a less than ideal situation, employ some thankfulness training by motivating your kids to name some things they are grateful for. Identifying the silver lining will help your kids keep things in perspective and be more resilient throughout their lives. Challenges offer the opportunity to put to true gratefulness to the test. An attitude of gratitude doesn’t mean your kids aren’t ever unhappy or disappointed, but a spirit of thankfulness can help them put any negative situation into perspective.
More than me.
The opposite of gratefulness is selfishness. It is hard to teach little people about being thankful, when we are all wired to look out for number one. A child naturally develops a greater worldview beyond their self as they age and consider their family, friends and classmates. However, parents can aid in this development by teaching kids to consider the feelings of others in all situations. Taking turns, sharing, waiting in line, practicing patience: these are all examples of thankfulness training, because kids must consider others.
We are grateful for all our friends, family members and clients! We hope this helps you teach your kids about being thankful.