Teaching Kids Gratitude Fundamentals In This Crazy World
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Teaching Kids Gratitude Fundamentals In This Crazy World
With the mass amount of materialism and consumerism prevalent today in society, thankfulness is not exactly on our minds at all times. That being said, thankfulness should be on our minds and our hearts more often. Teaching kids gratitude early on, is the perfect way to keep thankfulness at the forefront of our minds.
Thankfulness and gratitude is powerful and can completely affect our day to day lives in a wonderful way.
Gratitude is uplifting, it is positive and it builds a strong foundation for children. Teaching thankfulness to your children can be just as easy as any other lesson you teach them throughout their youth, but it can also be easy to let it slip past us rather than focus on it. When you get busy with the day to day stresses of life, it is not always easy to remember how to feel thankful yourself. We can all use some practice when it comes to teaching kids gratitude.
About 60 days ago, as a part of our Bible study, my oldest child and I decided we were going to start gratitude journals. It was one of the best choices we could have made. By focusing on what we are thankful for each day, we completely changed our overall perspectives on thankfulness. When you are focused daily on all the things you are grateful for, your mind begins to retrain itself in a sense. Or at least that was our experience.
We have decided to remain focused on gratitude as a daily practice in our home. Here are a few things we have tried and will continue to use while fostering thankful hearts.
Tips for Teaching Kids Gratitude
Teach them when to say thank you
Teach them to say please and thank you when someone has given them something or has done something kind to them. It’s okay for the kids to go through the motions when they are too young to understand, but the habit of saying thank you is a good one to develop. Plus, people appreciate being told thank you and when you make others happy it feels good.
Set a good example
The absolute best way to teach your children thankfulness is to show them that you are thankful in different ways throughout life. Raising children who are thankful is going to come a lot easier if they see their parents showing gratitude toward others and for the things that they have in life.
Start a family thankfulness journalism day
Make it a family habit at the end of each week to write down 3-5 things that you are thankful for. It can be 5 things that you have, 5 things that happened to you, etc. There are no hard and fast rules to this list, but writing down the things you are thankful for is a great way to be reminded about all of the great things in our lives.
Tell your children thank you
Children do things to help their parents all the time. When your children do something helpful for you, be sure to tell them thank you. Let them know that you appreciate what they do for you. When a person, kids and adults alike, feel appreciated it feels good. When kids learn how good it feels to make others feel that way too.
With the holidays coming up, this is a great time to develop traditions that show your feelings of thankfulness and gratitude for others.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Many families begin their Thanksgiving dinner by going around the room and talking about what they are most thankful for. While it may seem awkward to start, once it becomes part of your holiday routine, it is easier to do and feels nice to stay.
- It is also important to show your thankfulness during gift giving holidays. It’s important to develop a tradition of saying thank you to those who have given you a gift.
- Another good tradition to begin is to slow down the gift giving process. For example, one person will hand each child one gift at a time. This ensures that kids get a chance to really open their gifts and appreciate what they have been given, instead of ripping through the wrapping paper and moving onto the next.
Allow your children to experience failure
This one is extremely hard for me. That being said, I think that this is key to teaching thankfulness to your children. Teaching gratitude to your children is much easier when you allow your children to experience failure. A child that has never experienced failure or disappointment truly doesn’t know when or even why to be thankful for something. As much as we don’t want our children to miss out on winning, or to be sad, it is an important part of growing up and maturing.
Pray together daily
Praying with your kids is a fantastic way to ensure they grow in faith and thankfulness. When we pray together, I make a habit of thanking God daily for provisions, answered prayers, and others. Teaching and modeling this habit for them will serve them well as they grow into young adults.
Teaching kids gratitude has countless benefits. When a child is thankful in their life it really does showcase their great manners, it also often leads toward kindness, and perhaps best of all, thankful people are often happier people.
That’s right. According to multiple studies, displaying thankfulness and gratitude has been shown to be very beneficial for health and happiness. Feeling thankful is a positive mindset and having a positive mindset helps us focus on the good and not the bad. This leads to more feelings of happiness and contentment. I want happy and content children, and I am sure you do too!
Grab This Adorable Thankfulness Journal For Children Here