It doesn’t matter where you live or what language you speak, there is a word for it in every language. Thank you is a universal expression of gratitude. But they are just words. How do we get our children to be grateful and feel it? In this video, we are learning how to teach gratitude to our kids. How do we make them feel thankful? In one of my past videos, I talked about how gratitude is the secret to happiness. Gratitude is the antidote to depression. It is difficult to be grateful and depressed at the same time. We want to teach our kids to be thankful for what they have so here are some ways you can do that:
1) You need to be grateful – If you want to teach your child gratitude, you need to be grateful for yourself. You need to verbally express it, show it, and mean it. Before you are ready to teach it, you want to make sure you have built your gratitude muscle. Do you feel grateful regularly? Let’s assume you do so we can move on to the other tips.
2) Teach them the value of Thank You – This means saying it, writing thank-you notes when someone gives you a gift, or even doing something for someone else as a thank you. Be sure you are explaining what the thank you mean. For example, saying to your child “We show gratitude when someone gives us a gift. Your aunt gave you that present so it’s important to show her your gratitude and feel it.” This is an important part that I think we often miss. We instruct our children to say thank you but miss the part of explaining how to feel thankful.
3) Have them help around the house – You can call them chores or responsibilities. BTW, they shouldn’t get paid for helping….they should do them because they are part of the family and they need to help. Feeling a part of something and contributing to the family will help make them appreciate their family. Be sure you are using positive reinforcement and letting them know you appreciate their help.
4) Have them participate in purchases – Having everything handed to you makes it difficult to learn gratitude. If your child wants something extra, they need to buy it or participate in the purchase. Maybe there are some extra responsibilities they can take on. My children setup sales on the corner quite often. They have saturated the market with lemonade so they have moved on to other items.
5) Help Others – Donating time to a cause or helping others in need is an excellent way to teach kids gratitude. Encourage generosity. If you can do it through your community, then great. If not, at a minimum, discuss with your child how they can help others at school. Could they be a friend to someone that may not have many friends? Could they help another student who seems like they may need a little extra help? Helping others teaches them to be unselfish which can be an excellent way of showing gratitude.
6) Travel – Show them places different than their own. If you have the means to travel, showing them other places provides context for how much they have. When children see how many other people there are that are less fortunate, gratitude can begin to click in. They realize how thankful they should be for what they have.
7) Start a gratitude journal – If they aren’t old enough to write yet, having them tell you regularly what they are grateful for can still be powerful in teaching your child gratitude. If they are old enough to write, have them keep a gratitude journal. You can decide how often you want them to write in it, whether daily or weekly but it’s important for them to solidify it in writing. Have them write down 3 things in their gratitude journal that they are grateful for and why. If they need a little help getting started, you can ask them questions to help them get started.
I’d love to hear from you. What is something that you are grateful for? Leave your feedback in the comments section below.