Can you teach gratitude? During the holiday season, many parents look for ways to help their kids count their blessings and express thanks to others. Sometimes this can feel like an impossible task – most of us don’t have time for elaborate events or projects, and saying to your kids “Be more thankful!” definitely doesn’t work! Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can create opportunities for gratitude to grow and flourish. Check out these easy ideas on how parents can foster gratitude in kids of any age.
Keep a Gratitude Jar
A gratitude jar is a visible reminder to practice being thankful for the little things. Young children can draw pictures of what they’re thankful for, while older ones can write their ideas on small slips of paper. As you go about your day, point out opportunities to add to your jar. This helps children make gratitude a habit.
Say Thank You
Encourage your kids to say thank you and to write thank you notes. Model these good behaviors for them and discuss why saying thank you is important. When you receive a thank you note, share it with your children and talk about how good it makes you feel. Help them recognize that a simple thank you makes both the giver and the receiver feel good.
Give to Others
Help children feel thankful for what they have by showing them how good it feels to give it away. Look for simple ways to share with others in your community: pay for the person behind you in the drive through, have a lemonade stand on a nice day and give the money to an animal shelter, collect canned goods or warm mittens for those in need when you’re out running errands. Simple, spontaneous acts can teach children that giving to others is a wonderful way to express gratitude.
The biggest advantage to teaching your kids gratitude? It helps you feel thankful, too! Gratitude is contagious. Enjoy spreading it to your kids and your community through easy actions that become lasting lessons.