Modelling gratitude to your children helps them form the habit of being thankful and displaying appreciation to those around them.
I am sure you have all witnessed your own child or someone else’s at Christmas, receiving so many gifts that they are not even excited or thankful by the end of the paper-ripping and gift-opening frenzy!
Babies are not born grateful and toddlers are fully self-obsessed, so the art of gratefulness has to be shown to your littlies. Gratefulness cannot be “taught” to your children, it is “caught”. So, be good models, Mum and Dad! Always use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in your everyday language, and insist on your children using these words also.
Here are a few suggestions to help your children “catch” the art of gratitude.
- Have your children help with household chores — this shows them it takes effort to get things done;
- Find a project in the community — ask at your church or local neighbourhood or community centre for some ideas, or maybe bake a cake together for an unwell neighbour;
- Have your children write ‘thank-you’ notes for gifts they receive. They can draw a picture and write ‘thank you’ — the person receiving the note will be pleasantly surprised, and your children will get a thrill watching their response;
- Work at saying ‘no’ to your children. They will come to understand they cannot have everything and it will make your ‘yes’ so much sweeter;
- Be patient — gratitude is not a habit that will develop overnight; it can take a long time of reinforcement to be part of your child’s character.
Being around a well-mannered and grateful child is something we all enjoy; however, it is more than that. It encourages your child to be thoughtful and empathetic toward others.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
~ Maya Angelou