We, as parents, can start inspiring the idea of gratitude even in our children’s first years. Be the reflection and model of what you’d like to see your children model in their future years. We can plant seeds along the way as they are growing and developing. By practicing gratitude with our own children and people around us, your children will see what the “attitude of gratitude” looks like and feels like.
You can model what it looks like by:
- Trying not to overflow you children with gifts. Why, you might ask? Well, if we want to teach children how to appreciate what we have, then it might not be a good idea to give everything they ask for. In addition, this could be overwhelming for little ones.
- Being a model as a giver and donator. If you feel your children are losing interest in some of their toys, they could donate to a local charitable facility. Sit and talk to your children about how some children may not have as much as we have. Explain how we can help those children by giving away some of our toys. Help them sift through their toys and together decide which should be denoted. Some families like to do this before the end of year holidays. You could do the same with your own household items as well. Have them join you when you drop off the donations to the local charitable facility.
- Getting involved with community giving with your children. Collect canned and dried foods to be donated to your local food bank. Sit with your children and explain the importance of helping others in need.
- Read and share books with your children about giving and being thankful. Here are some suggested books:
- Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
- Clifford’s Thanksgiving Feast by Quinlan B. Lee
- Fancy Nancy Our Thanksgiving Banquet by Jan O’Connor
- Today is Thanksgiving by P.K. Hallinan
You can model what it feels like by:
- Showing your children appreciation for their efforts. When they do what they are asked. For example: When they do their part around the house. When they want to help with a project your involved in. When they do what is expected of them.
- Say it with your words like: Thank you for cooperating at the store. Thank you for picking up your toys when I asked. Thank you for coming right away when I said it was time to leave. Thank you for helping me with my project. Children love hugs, high-fives, a gentle squeeze, and older children even like the mod fist-bumps.
May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your love ones.