Football games, turkey and dressing and family gatherings are on the horizon as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday. While enjoying the time together is fun and I love all the pictures of family fun, we, as adults know that there is more to the holiday than eating until we're stuffed. But, did you know research shows that giving thanks can actually lead to happiness?
Naturally, we want our children lead their best lives and to be happy as well, but developing an attitude of gratitude is more than just teaching them basic manners. It is more than just reminding your children to say "thank you" when someone gives them a gift. Children as young as 18 months can be taught to say "please" and "thank-you", but true thankfulness takes time to blossom and grow.
Listed below are a few easy ways that you can begin to nurture a grateful spirit in your child.
5 Ways To Instill Gratitude In Children
Increasing Responsibility - Giving your child more age-appropriate responsibilities (chores or duties) will help them appreciate the work that teachers and care-takers do in their own lives.
Get Them Involved In The Kitchen - Letting your child help you with food preparation allows them the opportunity to learn more about where their food came from and the work that was involved in preparing it.
Value Of Money - Consider giving your child an allowance for their own personal purchases and help them make a plan for saving, spending and giving. Even children as young as 3 years old can learn to save for a special toy or book.
Encourage Community Service - Whether collecting canned goods or donating used toys, participating in service project will help your child understand that every small action is important in meeting the needs of people less fortunate.
Help Them Find What Matters To Them - Help your child discover things that they are passionate about and encourage them to learn all they can about them and think of ways they can make a difference, however small.
There's no happier person than a truly thankful, content person.
While almost everyone is willing to do things in exchange for outward rewards (money, treats, toys, etc.), encourage your children to pursue intrinsic goals: those that make them feel good inside because they have done the right thing or helped someone. Remember to savor their accomplishments along with them and to express your own gratitude their effort to help put or do nice things.
An attitude of gratitude doesn't happen overnight. Be patient. Kids can't be cajoled into showing appreciation, but your gentle efforts and examples will instill gratitude as a way of life. We'll be exploring more on this topic in future editions of the newsletter.
If you have a topic you would like to see discussed here, please feel free to drop me an email with your suggestions!
Until next time!