In a world that encourages a constant “need” for more, it can be hard to remember to be thankful. However, it’s important to express gratitude more than just one day of the year. Here are some ways you can nurture an attitude of thankfulness in your children.
1. Make it a daily practice
Practice gratitude every day as a family or individually. For example, you can start a thankfulness journal for each of your children. Encourage each child every day to record something they are thankful for or blessed by. You can motivate them with a promised prize when they finish their journal. Or, try making a thankfulness jar that everyone can contribute to. Set it in your kitchen or family room, and encourage your kids and spouse to put a slip of paper in every time they experience a blessing – big or small. When the jar is full, sit down and read the blessings together.
2. Make it fun
Try playing the gratitude game. To play, sit in a circle, and take turns saying something you’re grateful for. These can be simple things (like a stuffed animal), or big things (like a recent accomplishment at school). Continue around the circle until you all can’t think of any more items, or time runs out. You can also try the thankfulness list. In this game, teams assemble the letters of the word “thankful,” and use each letter to list things they are grateful for.
3. Encourage thankful responses and good manners
Last, but not least, try these simple tips to help your children practice saying thanks on a daily basis. Encourage them and help them write thank-you cards when they receive help or a gift from someone. Although thank-you notes can seem boring or unnecessary sometimes, they are an easy and fun way to teach gratitude. You can make it fun by adding stickers and personalizing the cards, too!
Above all, set an example in how you express thankfulness. Remember, it’s an attitude that must be developed over time, and you can be a big part of that.