Thanksgiving time is here and everyone gets into being grateful and saying thanks…for one day. What about the other 364 days? Are we not thankful or do we forget that it’s still important to show it?
Being grateful ourselves and teaching children gratitude all year round is something that is priceless. It only takes a little effort, but it goes such a long way. Here are some ways you can teach children gratitude year round:
Say Thank-You. It’s something so simple, but having your child actually say the words even when they get a cookie is putting them on the path to gratitude.
Even for that split second, they’re conscious of being grateful for something.
Bedtime Thanks. At night before your kids go to bed have them tell you at least one thing they’re thankful for that day. You’d be surprised at what some kids come up with! But, it’s a great exercise to instill gratitude in each and every day.
Make Thank-You Cards. The art of thank-you cards has seemed to disappear these days, but it doesn’t have to in your house.
Teach your kids about thank-you cards and how important they are. Someone took the time and energy to give you a gift, the least you can do is send a little thank-you note. Even if you have toddlers around the house, you can have them make handprint cards with ink and you can write thank-you for them. You’re never too young to say thank-you!
Make a Gratitude Jar. This is something the whole family can do together. For your kids, ask them what they’re thankful for and write each thing down on a little piece of paper. Put theirs and everyone else’s in a jar. Once a week, pull some out at random and read them aloud.
Say Thanks in Pictures. Kids like to see things and touch them. Have them go through pictures (even if it’s on your phone!) and point out the people and things they’re thankful for. Maybe it’s a special visit or a picture of a special person. Whatever the case, they’re getting in the mindset of being thankful.
Gratitude and Donations. In order to realize how lucky they are and to be thankful for what they have, sometimes kids need to see and realize there are people who are less fortunate.
Some kids may not even realize there are people in the world who are in great need. Whether it’s volunteering, going through a toy box to donate to charity or making cards, donating food to a pantry, or making cards for sick people, activities like these can help kids realize just how lucky they are to have what they do.
Teaching gratitude isn’t something that needs to take up a lot of time, but know the time you do spend is well worth it.