Wednesday, November 6, 2013

5 Ways to Teach Gratitude


The holidays are officially here! Halloween and Dia de los Muertos have passed and we now have beautiful new memories in our heads and loads of sweets we can't finish fast enough. Everywhere we look, we can't help but feel the pressure of the seasonal commercialism, and our kids start to make lists way too long for Santa to fully accommodate.

Now we are welcoming November with open arms and we focus on projects that remind our children to show gratitude. I think of how our family has been trying to teach our kids that thankfulness and gratitude is something we should show every day--all year long.

It is not easy to even hear a "thank you" from children in a consistent manner, and just like we teach other fundamentals over and over, practicing gratitude is just as important to reinforce. Here are five ideas to incorporate in your child's every day lives.

1) Write thank you notes. Every year, my boys receive birthday gifts, just-because presents and tons of books and clothes throughout the months. No matter who is sending a package or footing a bill, help your child give thanks by simply sending a little note. Mail always makes things more fun!

2) Go around the dinner table and describe your appreciation. Why wait for Thanksgiving? Every day whether it be at breakfast time or lunch time, children can get into a quick habit of thinking what made their day so special that it motivated them to say thanks.

3) Give. We always talk about the less fortunate. We always try to say yes to people asking for small donations and we explain to our oldest why we give. Simple tasks such as watching us donate old clothes and toys is a great way to teach kids to be thankful for the basics such as having warm clothes during this time of year.

4) Have kids help around the house. Just yesterday, I watched my almost three-year old son trying so hard to put his empty dinner dishes in the sink. He couldn't reach! He kept trying and trying but I wouldn't help because I knew he was safe and that if his task takes some effort, he will appreciate it greatly next time someone else helps him out.

5) Try not to say YES! We would love to give our kids every single thing they ask for...all the time. Who doesn't? I remember growing up and wanting the latest sneakers and my brother begging for a specific video game. My parents had to say no a lot because of their financial situation. When they did splurge on something small or big, we were very, very grateful.

What are some other ways we can teach gratitude at home? Please share!

Image: Viva Greetings


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Betty Galvan, is helping her readers "find the positive and seek the benefits" over at her blog, MyFriendBettySays.com.

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