Recognizing the blessings and gifts that one has sounds uncomplicated, but for a child it doesn’t come so easy. By nature most children are self-absorbed. Their worlds are centered around their needs and wants so being sensitive to the needs of others can often escape them. Entitlement is much easier to expect starting at a young age since most request are met by parents with no questions asked.
Gratitude can definitely be taught though. Teaching a child to be thankful and gracious doesn’t have to be tricky. Simple thank yous and pleases can make a grand impact with dealing with other people. These children are often seen as more polite and having manners.
Tips to teach your child to be thankful and appreciative.
Start with the everyday things. Encourage your children to say thank you for things like someone holding a door, sharing a snack or picking up a drop item. Then support their efforts to do these same things for others. They’ll feel better knowing they’ve given to someone else without anything in return but a smile and thank you.
End the day with a discussion of three things to be thankful for. Create a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the material things but point out the healthy delicious meals they were able to consume or the soft blankets they wrap themselves in at bedtime. Talk about the love they get from extended family and friends. Talk about how to reciprocate that love with messages and notes they can share with them.
Don’t forget to ask them WHY they are thankful or grateful. How would their lives be affected without the things they have? What things could they do or not do without the things they have?
With the holidays right around the corner and having to compete with the bright and shiny advertisements now is a perfect time to talk about expectations. Gift giving time is an ideal time to teach children what matters most and how to show appreciation for everything that comes into their lives.