With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I have started thinking of ways I can teach my daughter to be more thankful. Although she is only two years old, I think it’s important to start showing her the importance of gratitude now. Here are some simple things you can do to help teach your children how to be grateful.
Be Grateful Yourself (Yeah, You!)
The easiest way to teach your children anything is by modeling. You are your children’s best example when it comes to showing gratitude. Make a conscious effort to express how thankful you are for the many blessings in your life when your children are present. Make sure they see you thank the cashier at the supermarket or the waitress at the diner. Thank them when they help out around the house or your husband when he comes home from work. When your children see you showing gratitude, they are more likely to show gratitude themselves.
Volunteer With Your Children
Volunteer with your children at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, or an orphanage. When you expose your children to people that are less fortunate than themselves, they will naturally start to appreciate how much they truly have. Many children don’t realize how many people are suffering until they see it first hand. After you volunteer, encourage them to look through their belongings to see if there is anything they don’t use anymore that they could donate to someone in need.
Read Stories About Being Thankful
There are so many different picture books out there that focus on being thankful and there’s no better time than the present to start reading them to your children. One of my favorites is Being Thankful by Mercer Meyer. It just happens to be one of the books my daughter has been asking me to read multiple times a day! It has such a good message, though, that I don’t even mind. It encourages children to stop focusing on the things they wished they had and start appreciating what they already have.
Have Your Children Help Write Thank You Cards
If your children are old enough to write out thank you cards, encourage them to do so whenever they receive a gift or feel like they have been blessed by someone. If your children aren’t able to write yet, you can have them color pictures and place them inside thank you cards. Whenever possible, have your children be the one to hand deliver those thank you notes. Seeing how touched someone is when they receive those thank you cards will leave a lasting impression on your child’s heart.
Pray With Your Child
Praying to God and expressing your thankfulness for all the things He has done for your family is an awesome way to teach your children gratitude. As your children see you pray, they will want to pray themselves. “Dear God, I love you. Thank you for my food. Amen.” This simple prayer is often one that my two-year-old daughter says before a meal. When we pray before she goes to bed, I hear her thank God for things she got to do throughout the day and it is so precious to me. Trust me, you will feel blessed once you start praying with your children.
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