Gratitude is a wonderful trait to instill in your children–and in yourself! In fact, research shows that those who regularly exercise gratitude have improved mental and physical health, as well as increased self-esteem and empathy for others. Here are a few easy ways to encourage your children to be more grateful!
Set a good example. You probably already know that your children pick up on all of the little things you say and do (even when you don’t necessarily want them to). So show your children what gratitude looks like by expressing thanks to them when they do something nice for you, and be sure to thank others as well–the waiter, a person who holds the door open for you, a neighbor who has been particularly helpful. Your kids will quickly learn to share their gratitude for you and others!
Help your children understandhow fortunate they are. Of course, make sure that this conversation is age-appropriate–there’s no need to scare your children with some of the realities of poverty and homelessness, but it is a good idea to help your kids see just how fortunate they are to have the things they do.
Notice generosity. When you see someone being generous and kind, call attention to it and help your kids to notice as well. This builds the habit of recognizing and appreciating people who go out of their way to spread kindness and help others.
Find fun ways to say thank you. Other than a genuine spoken thank you, there are plenty of ways to help your kids be grateful as well as creative. Write a thank-you note, draw a picture that expresses gratitude, or complete another type of craft. Shy kids may appreciate options like giving a big smile or a thumbs-up to say thank you! If your child is particularly anxious, resources like BetterHelp are a great place to go for more information and advice on mental health topics.
Many of us teach our kids to say “please” and “thank you,” but by instilling the quality of gratitude in your children with the tips above, you’ll help them to understand exactly why we use our manners!