Expressing thankfulness is one of the most important skills parents can teach their children. By learning how to express gratitude kinds can learn the values of kindness and a social politeness. They will learn to contribute to something greater than themselves and the power of a simple “Thank you”. And since the notion of thankfulness is not a naturally occurring one, parents need to teach their children its universal significance.
Create Thankful Environment
One of the simplest ways of instilling thankfulness in children is creating a thankful atmosphere at home. Encourage family members to express gratitude whenever possible. Saying “Thank you” after performing acts of kindness can teach children that their acts are recognized and appreciated. You will also teach them the value of being grateful and the way to convey it. This will in turn make them aware of the feelings of others and increase their sense of belonging in the family.
Thankfulness in the Simple Things
Showing gratitude for simple things is extremely important when introducing thankfulness. From simple deeds like passing things during meal time, and even after replying to a simple “How are you?”, a child can learn that even the most insignificant acts can have emotional meaning. And by expressing thanks, you respectfully acknowledge it and teach your child the value of being kind.
Expressing Thankfulness through Deeds
Asking children to help with chores is another way of teaching them to be thankful. By taking part in useful and mutually-beneficial activities they can contribute to the household. In that sense, children will realize, that by helping the family and contributing to something more than their individual needs, they can express thankfulness.
Spark Thankfulness before Bed Time
Bed time is a perfect opportunity for a child to express thankfulness. Just before bed time talk to your child and summarize the day’s events and what both of you are grateful for. By initiating it, you can demonstrate the right events and values you want to be thankful for, while your child will follow by example.
Encourage Writing Thank You Cards
Encourage your children to write thank you cards for the gifts they receive for birthdays or during holidays. That will teach them that all gifts deserve thankful recognition. Moreover, by expressing thanks, they will demonstrate their worth, and the fact that they have earned the gift.
Role-Models of Thankfulness
Thankfulness is pretty much the superhero of emotions, so it’s no wonder that selfless influential characters inspire thankfulness in children. Whether the superhero is a family member, a soldier from the news, or a fictional superhero, they all serve as great role-models. By letting children relate to those people, they can adopt a higher level of thankfulness. A great way of attaining this notion in your child can be done by arranging a superhero party for kids. Through this fun and simple pretend-play, kids will learn to show gratitude through selfless acts of heroism.
Helping those who are less fortunate will teach children to be grateful of what they themselves have in life. The realization of inequality will give insight into what they truly need to be thankful for and the real values in life. Encourage children to donate their old clothes and toys to charity or to support a charity that is close to them. By doing so, children will learn what it means to help others, and that they can rely on the generosity of others if ever in need.
In the end, it is important to remember that thankfulness does not come naturally and has to be learned over time. But in making it a core value of every-day life, children will become grateful and contributing individuals, and future adults who will be thankful in both heart and mind.