One of the main tips that I gave for raising kids with character, is to raise grateful kids. In fact, I think gratitude is a valuable lesson for anyone to learn. Practicing daily gratitude can easily become part of a self-care routine. So, with all of that in mind, let’s talk about 7 easy ways to teach gratitude to kids.
An attitude of gratitude is an attitude worth having, don’t you think?
Here are some easy ways to incorporate instilling the virtue of gratitude in your children. As you go through your day, show them, the wonderful events going on behind the scenes that we all most usually take for granted.
Easy Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude
1. Set the Right Example.
It is better if you teach them by using the appropriate words at the right times yourself. How many parents do you see saying “Thank You” to there two or three year old children. It is through example that kids learn best, and teaching gratitude is no different than anything else in that respect.
2. Teach It Through Role Playing.
You can play games with your children that implement the virtue of gratitude. Play the second chair and practice showing them how it feels to be on the receiving end of an unexpected, “Thank You!”
3. Teach by Showing Them How to Be of Service to Others.
Even simple things such as holding a door for an elderly person, are small ways we can show them how others appreciate us and our actions. It is also a way to put a smile and a lift into a strangers day, which always creates a good feeling within the person who is doing the kind act as well.
You would be surprised how many times a simple gesture like this can occur in your normal day activities, in places like grocery stores, doctors offices, or shopping trips.
Or, you can try monthly acts of kindness.
4. Make a List or Keep a Gratitude Journal
Writing things down make them concrete. And sometimes it may just be difficult to think of things to be grateful for. For older children, you can use a printable kindness prompt journal. This can be used for younger children as well to encourage them to be kind. I think that kindness is a wonderful value to teach to children and goes hand in hand with gratitude.
5. Teach Gratitude While Going Without Things.
Though this may be associated with Lent, you could challenge your family to give something up. Or to put together a jar that you’re going to use to donate money to others. Instead of buying a new outfit, for example, put that money towards a homeless shelter. Or put it towards buying clothes for others.
6. Show them How to Be Thankful for the Little Things in Life.
Think of the little things that we may take for granted. Internet, SmartPhones, cable TV, etc. We may consider them to be necessary, but are they really? Have them go without for a day.
Other simple examples could include; having food to eat all the time, friends to play with, and having plenty of toys and school supplies. Showing them examples of third world country children who go without these things is a way of teaching them appreciation for what they have, too.
7. Teach them to see the good in someone they don’t like.
You can even use a negative experience to teach them the value of being grateful. When I think of this, immediately what comes to my mind is the Walt Disney movie, “PollyAnna” where she played the “Glad” game and found many things to be grateful for in every situation she encountered. Renting this video, watching and discussing it with them would be a great, gratitude building quality time family activity.
As you go through your day, show them, the wonderful events going on behind the scenes that we all most usually take for granted. Things like the police, who protect us, the firemen who are there for those who need them, and the clerk at the grocery store doing her job to help us get our food.
Simple thank you comments to all of these daily activities is the easiest way to role model appreciation that they will learn and emulate.
What other ways can you think of to teach gratitude to kids?