How to Teach Gratitude to Your Children

Teaching gratitude

Thanksgiving always makes me think about gratitude.  However, this Thanksgiving made me realize I need to help my boys understand gratitude. I want to figure out how I can  incorporate it into their daily lives. In today’s society with instant gratification, I feel that gratefulness falls by the wayside.  We want everything instantaneously.  We believe we deserve it.  It’s ours and we do not stop to think how lucky we are to have all the we need.  Here is a list of ways I am going to try to incorporate gratitude into our daily life.  Not to sure how successful I will be, but I feel if I make them aware, that’s a good start.

  1. Be a Role Model:  Show your children how you are thankful.  For example, make sure that your children see your appreciation for your spouse when he or she does something kind for you.  It could be as simple as giving them a hug and a kiss.  Encourage your children to thank, share and be thoughtful towards their friends.  It is that simple.  Our children learn by our examples.
  2. Help Your Children Understand the Value of Gifts:    I think this is  hard  to accomplish, especially with younger kids, but try.  There have been numerous times when my 5 and 7 year olds have received presents that they did not like and I had to struggle to show them the good intentions behind the gift.   In cases like these I try to explain to them the effort that came with picking out the gift.
  3. Make them Aware of their Blessings:  This is my favorite.  When we all have the time to eat dinner as a family, I ask them what made their day.  What happened during their day that they were thankful for.  I try to make it as fun as possible.  It’s a great time for us all to bond as a family.  My 5 year old loves to share the events of his day, my 7 year old not so much.  So its more of a struggle with him.  I feel this creates lines of open communication which will be extremely important when they become those dreaded teenagers.  I want them to know how important it is to share the events of their lives with my husband and me.
  4. Limit  Materialism:  As parents we love to give our children all they desire, but we need to limit our  extravagance.  During the holidays it seems extremely hard to limit the amount of presents I buy for them, especially when I get into the holiday spirit.  I just get so carried away, but I try.  I have a little tradition with my boys that every year right before Hannukah and Christmas they need to donate their old toys to needy children.  It makes them aware that not every child has toys. Along with helping others in need, it also gives them a sense of community.
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