Cultivating an attitude of gratitude in children is a topic that come up a lot this time of year. Parents have high hopes that their children will be generous, thankful and want to serve others. Although these qualities come naturally in some children, for many it needs to be taught and worked on daily. With the holiday season coming up how do we cultivate this spirit of gratitude in our children?
There are so many ways we can encourage our children to be grateful and thankful. The most effective way is to model appreciation yourself. Thank your children when they do something kind. Make sure you are thanking others when you are out and about. Take time to directly teach your children how to show appreciation to others. This includes graciously accepting gifts around the holidays.
Here is a huge list of ways you can encourage a gratitude in children
- Starting weekly family meetings with appreciations,
- Ending your day with words of thanks and gratitude,
- Write notes of thanks to each member of the family,
- Send cards to extended family members or even service personnel.
- Tape notes on bedroom doors
- Read notes to each other around the dinner table
- Leave notes on pillows
- Create your own note cards as an art project
- Mail notes to extended family
- Share notes at the beginning of family meetings
- Create a special tea-time with treats and notes of gratitude
- Leave a surprise note in a coat pocket, lunch box or bathroom mirror
- Read notes of appreciation and guess whom they were for
- Write scripture verses as a blessing for each other
- Take time to write notes of gratitude to God – use them for bedtime prayers and meal blessings
- Make a binder of all the notes you’ve written to look back on.
- Help your kids create, make, or buy gifts for others
- Be a generous family, give to others and help often
- Find an organization your child may be interested in to donate to
- Choose a cause your child can relate to, often schools have coat drives or other kid related opportunities to serve
- Get involved in your community events and service opportunities
When we take time to remember all the kind, loving wonderful things our family members have done for us, it encourages us to do more of those things. It helps build connection between siblings and raises self-esteem too! Take some time the month as a family to show how much you appreciate each other.