In order to be grateful as an adult, you need to start as a child. While it may seem like a no-brainer, gratitude is something that needs to be taught and practiced every day.
Here are some tips to get your kids on the thankful train this month and all year-round.
It starts with a simple thank-you. How many times have you given a child something or done something nice for a child and hear nothing in return? Teach your child to always say thank-you when they receive a gift or when someone does something kind, like hold the door open. Teaching manners will help to instill in your child that they are not entitled to anything and that they need to be grateful for everything that comes their way.
Start a gratitude jar. This can be an expression of gratitude and an arts and crafts activity rolled into one. Grab a mason jar and let your child paint it or decorate it any way they’d like. Explain to them that they will put pieces of paper in the jar that say what or who they are grateful for. If your child isn’t old enough to write, have them tell you and you can write it down for them. It can be anything from a treat they got that day to their favorite teddy bear. Anything goes! The idea is to teach them that they need to be grateful for things and people in their lives. Ideally, they should be able to put at least one piece of paper in the jar a day. But, as long as you get there a few times a week, it’s a start. At the end of the month, empty the jar and read all of the pieces of paper to remind your child of how much they have in their lives already.
Teach them to look for the positive. Looking for the positive in everyone and everything can help children to be grateful. While this may be hard for little ones to grasp, you can keep it simple. If they’re mad that they can’t go to the park because it’s raining, turn it around and tell them to be grateful that they can stay inside and do a fun craft.
Give or a make a gift for someone. Explain to your child that you are sharing your talents by making a gift or sharing the excess that you have by being able to buy a gift. Either lesson is one that can be learned at any age.
End the day with gratitude. Each night before your child closes their eyes, have them tell you one thing they were grateful for that day. If they say they can’t think of anything, tell them they can even be thankful for the dinner they ate or the TV show they watched. The idea is to get them in the mindset of finding something to be grateful for each and every day. It also doesn’t hurt to end the day on a positive note!
As you’re teaching your child to be grateful, take some of these lessons to heart. We can all spend a little more time expressing gratitude. Don’t you agree?