Helping Children Learn to Be Grateful

An important part of parenting is teaching children positive character. At this time of year, we often focus on being grateful. But there is no need to wait! We should be teaching our children to be thankful every day of the year.

You can help your children learn to be grateful. Consider the ways you can add gratitude in your parenting.

Be Thankful for the Little Things

The sweetest blessings come in the smallest forms. When you're in a positive mindset, you'll learn to appreciate the little things. Once you learn to love, recognize, and be thankful for the little things in life, your quality of life will increase because you'll be aware of how fortunate you really are. Teach your children to recognize the small things by being grateful for all the small things they do!

What types of small things? Here are some of my thoughts. Obviously, the small things to be done change with whatever age your child is.

  • Putting on your shoes without being asked
  • Putting your dishes in the sink
  • Not arguing with a sibling
  • Finishing schoolwork without being asked
  • Brushing your hair (it seems I have to nag everyone on this one, no matter the age)
  • Cleaning up after yourself
  • Helping a sibling who calls for help
  • Setting the table

So many times, I criticize when my children do something wrong, but I forget to praise them when they do something right. During the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm planning on giving the thanks to my kids that they deserve!

Find Opportunities to Serve

If you often reflect on the fortunate events in your life, you'll be able to spot a good opportunity to help others. For example, try to be an example of serving by being observant and stating what it is that someone needs. This isn't just so you get a "thank you." As long as you are pointing out and praising them when they are doing little things as well, your example of helping them may help improve the feelings of gratitude in your home.

Sometimes I think my kids are determined to not help one another. Then, on the other hand, they want to boss each other around. I'm still working on helping them learn to serve as well, but I'm finding that mama's attitude goes a long way to helping my kids develop an appropriate attitude of thanksgiving.

Give to the Less Fortunate

Make it a point to teach your children to recognize your blessings. Of course, we must show compassion to those who are less fortunate. Remind yourself and your children that showing gratitude for all you already have only does more to attract further blessings into your life.

It's amazing but true: when I'm helping other people, no matter what I'm doing, I ended up feeling better from my depression or my busy-ness, or my stress. Service fills our hearts with accomplishment but also, of course, the gratitude we owe to God our own situations will help us develop a strong positive character.

What are some ways kids can give to the less fortunate?

  • Donate used (but nice) toys and clothing.
  • Read to people who may be lonely.
  • Give smiles and/or hugs to family and friends who are sad.
  • Hold the door open for someone with arms full.

You'll notice that may not consider someone with their arms full as "less fortunate." But if you have two arms available and they do not, you are helping the less fortunate.

Positive Grateful Affirmations

Help your children be grateful by reminding them with displays. My sets of gratitude affirmation coloring pages are perfect for this. During the holiday season, you can use these pages to either help your kids stay busy when the turkey is cooking. Or use these coloring pages as grateful statements posted on your mirror or bulletin board. Every time you or your children look at the affirmation pages, you will remember to be grateful once again.

Starting today, take your positive mindset to new heights and make every day a personal day of thanksgiving!

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