No one is born grateful. Being aware that someone has done something nice for you is not a natural behavior for children…it is learned. When teaching a manners class for children, thank you note writing is always at the top of the list, for many reasons.
Recently, I was quoted in the Dayton Daily News. The article discusses ways to teach gratitude to children. It’s focus is on how to set a gracious example for your kids. Gratitude starts at home. According to the article, “Expressing and fostering a sense of gratitude can be as simple as saying thank you for kind deeds, sharing what the best part of your day was, or encouraging your kids to write and draw in their own gratitude journals. Or it can be as big as volunteering together as a family to help your community or school by donating to a food, toy or clothing drive”.
How to Teach Children to be Grateful
- Model the behavior: Remember your children are watching you. Say “thank you” often to them and to others. Point out why you are saying it.
- Write thank you notes as a family: Make thank you note writing fun. Set aside a time on the weekends. Sit around the kitchen table, put out paper, note cards, colorful pens, glitter, etc and start writing. Make or buy cookies and serve hot chocolate. Encourage your children to be creative.
- Gratitude journal: I keep one as an adult. Buy a journal or staple paper together and have them list everyday five things they are thankful for. Trust me, this is so easy and if nothing else, it will lift your spirit.
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