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6 Tips for Teaching Kids About Gratitude was written by Ana Scaramella, a guest contributor to the Homeschool Bundle + the Create Your Homeschool Blog! Enjoy!
As parents, we all teach our children to say please and thank you from a very early age. We even go as far as gently nudging them to remind them when they forget. But how many of us practice the art of gratitude deeply enough to instill in our kids a true sense of gratitude?
It is easy to say thank you for a pair of socks. But true gratitude lies in being
genuinely happy about getting a pair of socks for Christmas instead of a long-awaited toy. Yes, good manners are important – we know that! – but teaching children to feel gratitude is a tall task that we as parents must take on.
Here are 6 tips for teaching kids about gratitude
The very best way to teach children to be grateful – or to teach them anything really – is by practicing what you preach: BE GRATEFUL.
Children are always watching our actions and very often modeling our behaviors. Have you ever observed a little girl playing with her dolls? She usually “parents” her dollies the same way she sees mommy doing it. So, thank kids often, thank them for helping with the dishes, thank them for giving you a hug, or for being nice to their siblings. Allow them to see you practicing acts of kindness, giving your time to help others, or showing love and appreciation to people in your life.
They will mirror your behaviors, whether you like it or not. So make sure you give them something good to imitate.
Chat about the Peak and Pit of the day
One thing that I started with my girls a little while back is a “peak and pit of the day” conversation at the end of each night, before bedtime after we read a story.
I start by asking them “What was the peak and pit of your day?” (the peak being the best part and the pit being the not so great part of the day), then we each take turns talking about the high and low points of our day.
This helps them (and me) put things in perspective and realize how truly blessed they are for everything and everyone in their lives.
This practice has truly helped my girls to practice gratitude for the good things that happen during their day and know that despite the fact that sometimes things don’t go as planned, they still have a lot to be grateful for.
Resist the urge to give kids everything they want
You know what they say: “all things in moderation.”
Now, that’s not to say that you should only give your kids the bare minimum of everything. However, buying children everything that they want, whenever they want, disables them from appreciating what they have. If everything is so easy to get, how will they learn to value and respect their possessions?
Have you ever seen a child be so excited about a toy, play with it for a few days, and then forget about it? Sometimes kids have so much stuff, so many toys, that it is impossible for them to appreciate each one of them.
Having them save up for something they really want is great for teaching kids about gratitude
If your children are old enough to get an allowance or have a job, have them save up their own money to buy something that they want.
My daughter recently started making and selling lanyards. Each time she sells one, she puts part of that money towards buying a pair of headphones that she’s been wanting for a while now. When kids take it upon themselves to save money for something they want, they learn how much hard work goes into making that money. This gives them an understanding of the value of each dollar and encourages them to appreciate what they have and what you and others do for them.
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When teaching kids about gratitude, give them chores
I know sometimes it is easier to just do it ourselves, but resist that urge to take over the chores that were assigned to your children because they are taking too long or whatever other reason.
Giving your kids age-appropriate chores helps them to learn and appreciate all the work that is done to keep the household going.
It teaches them that every family member must help because we are a part of the family. It teaches them to appreciate all of the things that are done for them. Additionally, when you assign specific chores to your children, you are also teaching them the great skill of responsibility.
Get the free printable family task chart now!
Create a gratitude journal together
For children that are already able to read and write, creating a gratitude
journal is a wonderful way to generate a gratitude habit. Children that are not yet able to write can draw about what they are grateful for.
Have a conversation with your children about what they are grateful for and ask them to record their feelings in their journal. Choose a later day to revisit the journal as a family or simply instruct the children to read their gratitude journal when they are having a bad day. Doing this helps children realize how much they have to appreciate in their lives.
Teaching kids about gratitude is a continuous job that we, as parents, must take on and stick with. Let’s teach our children to be grateful and appreciative of all the blessings in their lives.
Have you tried any of these ideas to teach kids about gratitude? Share your experience in the comments!