How to teach your children to be grateful
Manila, Philippines – November is the month when many people offer thanks. It's a time when we look back, reflect on the year, and count our blessings.
At a time when many children are technologically savvy and constantly on the go, it's important to help them realize the many things they should be grateful for. Use these tips to help instill a sense of gratitude in each of your children, no matter their age, or the time of year.
- Start a gratitude jar. Using a large jar, basket, or container, ask your child to write down one thing a day that they are grateful for. Once a month open the jar and take turns reading tidbits of gratitude after dinner.
- Create a routine of giving thanks. While sitting at the dinner table, ask each member of the family to think about their day and share something that they are thankful for. Conversely, use this same time to ask everyone if there was something that they could improve upon or do better tomorrow.
- Model the behavior. Children learn what they see, not what you say. Keep a gratitude journal. Teach them to write in it frequently. Let their first entry be the ABC's of gratitude, naming one thing for each letter that they are grateful for.
- Write "Thank You" notes. We live in a time when we communicate through text messages, Twitter, and Facebook. Teach your children the value of writing a "Thank You" note by hand. Better yet, give them art materials and let them create their own "Thank You" card.
- Put together a "care package" of donations for an orphanage nearby. In the season of giving, teaching your child to share his blessings with those less fortunate can be a valuable lesson in gratitude. Use the activity as a jump off point.
- Practice Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs)
- Bake cookies for a neighbor just because.
- Help your Lola carry her bags.
- Pack a meal for a traffic officer. Deliver the packed meal with a smile.
- Deliver handmade cards to the elderly.
- Collect old books to donate to a community center.
- Read books of Thanksgiving and Gratitude
- Have you Filled your Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood
- Model courteous behavior. Saying a simple "Thank you," or even "Please" can go a long way. Teaching good manners is modeling good manners. Remember your child emulates your behavior.
Gratitude isn't "taught" over night, and it is certainly not something that children of a young age can grasp initially. Share the many things you are grateful for with your child and watch how he responds. Being grateful is something our kids begin to understand when we model the attitude. Grateful kids come from grateful parents. – Rappler.com
Michelle Ressa-Aventajado is a Filipino American who grew up in NY and now makes Manila her home. When she's not busy raising her 4 children, she enjoys teaching, reading and writing about her passions. Follow her blog Momma 'N Manila as she documents her adventures and growth in parenting.
Image of child with 'thank you' sign from Shutterstock.