Raising Thankful Children - Teaching Gratitude

The leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping, which can only mean Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to begin teaching your child about the importance of feeling and expressing gratitude. Raising thankful children is something parents strive for, and are often interested in new ideas. Here are some tips for teaching your child gratitude this holiday season.

Focus on the positives

A simple way to help teach your child gratitude is taking time out of your day to focus on the positives. Choose a time of the day - picking up the kids from school, the dinner table, or bedtime - and designate that as a time to talk about the best part of your day. Having the whole family participate can help cultivate a positive attitude that is more inclined to express gratitude for what they have.

Set a good example

Children look up to their parents and often attempt to emulate them. You can tell your child that they need to be thankful, but if you do not do the same they will not internalize what you want them to do. Setting a good example for your children by expressing gratitude allows your child to learn by your example. Your actions show how to be thankful, which can go a long way.

Show gratitude to your child

Showing gratitude to your child helps normalize an attitude of thankfulness. If your child does their chores, tries hard in school, or surprises you with something heartfelt, make the extra effort to thank them. Let them know how it feels to be shown gratitude so they will know how important it is for them to express gratitude. They are more likely to be thankful if they know the effect it has.

Volunteer with them

Take your child out to volunteer with you. Having them help those who have less than them helps show them what they should be grateful for. It is one thing to know that they should express gratitude, but if your child knows why they should be grateful, they are more likely to internalize this attitude.

This Thanksgiving, we recommend working with your child to learn the art of gratitude. If you have any questions about teaching gratitude, or early care and education in general, the 4-C Resource Room is full of materials and resources that parents and child care providers can use to enhance the care and education they provide, so make sure to check it out.