In a fast paced world where instant gratification is everywhere, it can be tough to raise grateful kids. Our kids are growing up in a world where you rarely have to wait for something and it is so much easier to take it for granted. Everything that they want, they can easily get. They also learn this at a much younger age. My 5 year old daughter has already taken to saying, “well we can get it online, can’t we”? Teaching our kids to be grateful is a task that takes time and effort. It will not simply happen overnight. So how do we teach our kids to be grateful in this crazy world of ours?
Model the Behavior
If we want to raise grateful children, we must model the behavior for them first. Our children need to hear us say thank you often and at every opportunity. They need to hear us say it to every type of person and in every type of situation. We must say thank you when someone holds a door for us, to cashiers at stores, to waiters, and to friends and family members. We must also remember to thank our children when they complete tasks or demonstrate behavior that deserves a thank you.
Talk About the Meaning of Being Grateful
For a child to be grateful, they must also understand the concept. They need to know what it means to be grateful and the actions or gifts we should be grateful for. Dictionary.com defines grateful as “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received”. My husband and I often tell our kids why we said thank you to someone. Such as “Wasn’t it nice of that man to hold the door for us?” or we say to them “Thank you for giving me this beautiful card, it really made me smile!”
Read Books About Being Grateful
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Last year I found several books about Thanksgiving and being grateful advertised in my daughter’s school book order. After reading some reviews online, I purchased several of them. They all teach about being grateful in different ways and have been a great resource for our family.
We are fortunate that we are at a stage where we eat dinner together with our kids every night. A few years ago we began the practice of going around the table each night and saying what we are grateful for. It took several rounds before our kids understood what it meant, but now they really surprise us with what they say. Many times they will say they are grateful that we cooked a lovely meal for them or they will say they are grateful for something small we didn’t expect them to notice. If you are religious, say your prayer first and then go around and say what you are grateful for. If you are not able to have dinner together every night, then find at least one meal or two a week when you can be together and tell each other what you are grateful for. Even if you are all eating in the car together on the way to a practice or event. I find I really look forward to what my children say. One time they will melt my heart and other times they will make me laugh in a really good way.
I hope that these tips will help you with teaching your children gratitude.
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