Many studies have been done on gratitude. It has been found time and time again that there is a consistent association between gratitude and happiness. Generally speaking, those who are more grateful are also those who have “happier” lives. Every parent wants their kid to be happy, right? So how can we help them be happier? By showing them how to be more grateful! There are many ways to instill gratitude in our children.
Thank your children and thank others. A simple “thank you” might seem small, but it is the first step in showing gratitude. Expressing gratitude through words is a simple yet meaningful way to let others know you appreciate them. Take notice of how often you thank people, try to express thanks even more. Children soak up everything we do. If we are living out gratitude on a daily basis, they are more likely to do so themselves.
Send thank you notes
Did your child have a birthday party this year? Did they get lots of presents? Have them send thank you notes! This is a great way to help them learn how to express gratitude in their own words. I might be difficult for them to think of what to say other than “thank you” the first few times. But after a little practicing they will naturally begin expressing their gratitude through their words.
Keep a record
While we are on the topic of writing, lets discuss the importance of that. The more we right things down, the better we remember them. Teach your children how to be grateful by writing it down. Let your child pick out their very own gratitude journal and have them write down something (or three or five things) they are grateful for every day! This is extremely helpful because they have a physical reminder of their gratitude.
You might be wondering what serving has to do with being grateful. Lets talk about that. Who would be served? Those in need. There are many different ways to serve in each community—a food bank, foster care program, a homeless shelter, and more. When your child sees the conditions in which some people live, they will naturally be more thankful for what they have. When you live a fortunate life, it is easy to forget to be thankful for things like clothes, food, and shelter. Seeing firsthand that some people are not fortunate enough to have those things will help put in perspective all the things your children have to be grateful for.