Via Therapy by Ashley: 3 Tips for Teaching Gratitude to Kids
November is here, which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Grocery stores are stocking up, Facebook is full of posts expressing what people are thankful for, and guys are competing in who can go the longest without shaving. It is truly the beginning of the best time of year.
The holidays bring about so many great things, one of which is the opportunity to teach and demonstrate to our kids the idea of living a life of gratitude.
While giving thanks and giving back are usually values that most parents work toward instilling in their kids, the holiday season is typically the time where it is shown and talked about the most.
Teaching your kids about gratitude breeds more than kids who are not entitled.
When kids learn about gratitude they learn about empathy or how to be sensitive to other people’s needs. They learn what it’s like to put themselves in another person’s shoes thus treating them with respect. They learn that life isn’t all about material possessions, something all parents want.
Unfortunately, gratitude is not something that comes natural to kids, as you’ve probably seen! It’s something that is learned; something that you influence.
Here are 3 things you can do as a parent to help foster and nurture that sense of gratitude not just this holiday season, but all year long!
Look at the way in which you are speaking with your children.
Do you verbalize gratitude for other things, people, and places yourself?
Kids will watch and listen to what you are doing. If we are speaking the language of gratitude our kids will take note and be more likely to speak it themselves.
Expressing gratitude can be verbalized in the simplest of ways; “Look how pretty those Fall leaves are, aren’t they so beautiful?” “I love when you help Mommy with the dishes,” “We are so lucky that Grandma and Grandpa live close by to help us.”
For Holidays, birthdays, special events where gifts are given, place more importance on the actual celebration rather than gifts itself.
Emphasize how part of what makes Thanksgiving so great is being with family or when everyone helps cook the meal.
This will help them understand that these events are not just about getting gifts.
Teaching gratitude doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.
Having your kids help with household tasks and responsibilities allows them the chance to experience the effort and time it takes to complete these things.
While it can be really tempting, don’t just immediately jump in and take over.
Stand back and revel in the idea that you are raising kids who are willing to be an active part of the family and who pull their weight!
They’ll also appreciate the things that you do for them more if they can have first-hand experience of what it’s like.
While speaking and teaching are both really important parts, LIVING a life of gratitude will speak more to them than anything else.
Engaging in acts of service together as a family such as volunteer work is great and allows kids to see their efforts making a difference.
Having kids write thank you notes may be a small gesture but can be so meaningful to those receiving it.
Other ways such as giving money or even unused items to organizations can be a reminder to kids of how much they DO have.
Try sitting down every quarter as a family and planning out ways for you and your family to give. This also teaches kids that giving back and showing gratitude is not just conditional to the holidays but something that should be done all year long.
Of course, there are other great ways of teaching gratitude to your kids. The key is to be consistent and intentional.
I’d love to hear other ways you’ve helped your kids learn about gratitude!
Comment below and let me hear from you!