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Ways to Teach Gratitude to Your Kids

Oct 29, 2015
Alison Lewis

Lately, I am on a mission to teach my kids to be more grateful. Now that my three children are teens, I realize I should have emphasized gratitude more when they were young. Gratitude is so beneficial in life and in relationships. Being grateful can calm your mind, reduce negativity and help create happiness. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted my kids to start thinking about the importance of gratitude before the holiday season. Here are 10 easy ways that helped me teach gratitude to my kids: 

Ways to teach gratitude to your kids 

1.    Make a gratitude journal or jar. Have your kids write down the things they are grateful for a few days a week. If they are too young to write, ask them to draw a picture and add a written description for them. Do this for the next month and then read them out loud during a sit-down dinner or Thanksgiving.

2.    Participate in charity work. Volunteering and teaching random acts of kindness will only enrich your children’s lives and make them feel better about themselves. Teach them the importance of volunteering their time by doing chores around the house (with no allowance) or even helping a grandparent or neighbor with a small task like bringing groceries in.

3.    Thank you notes. Hand written notes are the essence of showing thanks and gratefulness. Today, kids just want to send a text message to friends to say thank you, but as we all know, a hand written note goes a long way. Plus, everyone appreciates receiving a card every now and then!

4.    State gratefulness. At dinnertime or in the car, ask your kids what the best part of their day was. If they get used to thinking about this, they will learn to think positively and be grateful for the little things that make them happy.

5.    Give compliments. Give compliments to your children often and teach them to compliment their friends and siblings. Seeing someone’s face light up after they receive a nice remark is a great turnkey way for them to see the result of positivity being spread.

6.    Teach positivity. Challenge your children to go a day without complaining. Focusing on the good rather than the negative will be more pleasing to them and eventually sink in.

7.    Smile. Remind your kids to smile more. This will brighten other people’s day and help create positive surroundings for gratitude. It’s such a simple thing to do and has such a large impact on yourself and the ones around you.

8.    Cook. Ask your children to assist you in the kitchen. Have them make cookies, treats, and desserts to give out as holiday gifts to neighbors, teachers and friends. Then, ask them to assist you with dinnertime preparation – whether it’s mixing ingredients or setting the table. This will help teach them the importance of sharing holiday joy with others and also the importance of helping your parents with everyday tasks like dinner.

9.    Explain. Describe to your kids the importance of being grateful. Share with them some things that you are grateful for and why they made such an impact on you. They’ll enjoy hearing your stories and will be encouraged to share their feelings as well.

10.    Set an example. We all have been taught to use the kind words since we were little, “please, thank you, excuse me,” but it’s important to continue practicing what we preach. Teach your kids to say thank you to adults, friends, teachers and tutors. Volunteer your time. Try not to complain and be positive. Setting an example for them will help motivate and encourage them to set an example for others as well.

What other tips do you have to teach your kids the importance of gratitude? Please share any additional tips or methods you’ve used in the comments section below.  

Photo courtesy of Alison Lewis.

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1 Comment so far

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On Wednesday, November 4, 2015, Kim from Hartford wrote

This is a lovely list! It is so important to teach our children to be grateful for what they have. We saw a beautiful "Gratitude Tree" at a local school - simply built of branches and gift tags. {}


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