Teaching Children To Be Thankful

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Tis’ the season to be thankful! We are blessed beyond measure. Blessed to live in Arizona and have a mild winter. Blessed to have babies we can watch grow. Blessed to live free. But how do we ensure our kids feel the same way? Gratitude is a difficult concept to teach children, as they are by nature self-centered, but it’s a task that pays off big in the long run. Thankful children are not only more pleasant to be around, they are happier. 

Thankfulness comes in many forms. For some families, writing a thank you card after receiving a gift is the best way, while others may prefer to create a gratitude jar. Here are a few ways your family can introduce thankfulness into your home:

  1. Model the behavior– Children love to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Don’t miss a chance to use your “please” and “thank you” the next time the barista hands you a drink in the drive-thru line. Remember, there are always eyes on you from the back seat. 
  2. Talk about gratitude daily– Be vocal about something you appreciate, and ask your kids what they appreciate. It’s okay if they say they appreciate their favorite toy. Keep having the conversation, and keep telling them what you like and why. Soon they’ll see it’s possible to appreciate the non-physical. A beautiful sunset? The scent coming from your vanilla latte? Ice-cold water when you’re parched? Share it with them!  
  3. Enlist the kids’ help– Personal responsibility goes a long way in making children more thankful. The sense of empowerment they’ll feel translates into contentment, and a content heart is more likely to feel thankful.
  4. Be patient– Possibly the most important one! This endeavor will not be an overnight success, nor does one good experience dictate the next five will be also. The key is consistency. Thankfulness doesn’t come easily, and often requires hardwiring the mindset- in adults and children alike!

Bottom line: It will be difficult at times, but so worth it in the end. Pretty much like all of parenting in general!    

 

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