Many times in life, gratitude is usually practiced and shown to others when we feel indebted to them and want them to understand our feelings towards them. Gratitude can be practiced in small ways through a simple ‘thank you’ or bigger ways through words of affirmation or gift giving. The idea is to make the other person feel good for making you feel good yourself. However, in a time where children are walking around with smartphones that cost up to a thousand pounds, and take the efforts of their parents for granted, teaching gratitude can seem like a slow and painful battle. The good news is, regardless of the obstacles that can be faced, there are still several ways to raise a child that understands and appreciates gratitude. Here are some top tips on exploring it with your child.
Teach your child to say please and thank you
As always, start at the basics. You cannot expect your child to be thrown into the deep end as it will only overwhelm them and work short-term. Encourage your child to say ‘thank you’ on a regular basis. Gentle reminders are the best way to go about this as realistically, no child likes to be told what do. Saying something along the lines of ‘what do you say to the teacher for helping you?’ will give them the push they need to make practicing gratitude a common occurrence. Even if doesn’t seem like they are genuinely appreciative when you remind them, encouraging them regularly is part of the learning process that will lead to a real sense of thankfulness later in life.
Performing acts of kindness
It is important to remind your child that they can show their appreciation through more than just words. This could be sharing their toys with a friend or an act of service to someone who was kind to them. An activity that you can practice with your child is writing thank you letters. Make it clear that gratitude should be shown to everyone that they come across and not just those that they know personally. Members of the community such as the postman or the binmen, also deserve gratitude for the hard work that they endure every day.
Be the best version of yourself as gratitude starts with parents. There is a greater chance that your child will learn to be more grateful if they hear and see it being practiced by the grown-ups around them. Saying thank you to your children for helping you clear up after dinner or telling them how much you appreciate them, will be great when it comes to modelling gratitude effectively.