What Are Five Simple Ways You Can Teach Gratitude To Young Children?
In so many areas of parenting, we are encouraged to lead by example, but what does that mean for interactions with very young children?
Here are five tips for how to teach young children to appreciate the people, experiences, and things in their lives. (They are good reminders for us too!)
Count your blessings out loud, whether acknowledging the blue sky and birds singing in the morning, or the special kindness of a family member or friend.
Establish rituals such as a nighttime recap, taking turns at bedtime choosing what you liked best about the day. Make a “top five reasons why I like _______ list” (fill in the blank with the name of a person, place or thing. Kids love lists and rituals.
Make statements like, “a person can't have everything" or "or a person can't do everything" a part of your repertoire. Point out situations where you have to choose between two invitations, or two purchases, so that children can begin to internalize and understand that concept.
Demonstrate your gratitude. Let children know when you are sending a thank you note or email to family and friends. Bring them along when purchasing stationery or better yet, help them to make thank you cards for gifts so that they also have opportunities to show their appreciation.
Don’t overwhelm them with things. Every trip to a store shouldn’t include a purchase for them. When they do get new toys, giving some away should become routine. Also, rotating toys helps them to appreciate what they have.
Bonus tip. Even before they can comprehend the concept, point out to them when you are sharing with them and that it feels good. Say the words, “I like to share”. Before you know it, they will begin to understand that while it’s hard sometimes, it can be better to give than receive.