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Great ways to Teach Children How to Express Gratitude

Great ways to Teach Children How to Express GratitudePhoto from Unsplash

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Gratitude should be an essential part of everyone’s life, not just because it is a way to show others that we care, but because it also has been linked with making you happier. Even in kids as young as 5 years old, gratitude has been shown to improve happiness.

Research also indicates that people who are grateful are more optimistic, have better social support, and are more satisfied with school, families, and themselves. This means that encouraging your child to express gratitude can help them grow into a happier person. Here are some easy ways to teach your child to express gratitude.

Say Thank You

The first step in this process should be teaching your child to say “thank you” on a regular basis in situations like receiving a gift, receiving a compliment, or being given help. Saying “thank you” not only makes the other person feel appreciated, but it helps your child start to recognize all of the times when they have something to be grateful for, whether that is something material like a gift or immaterial like time or a compliment.

The best way to encourage your child to remember to do this is by first prompting them with something like “What should you say to your grandmother when she gives you a gift?” Then once they start remembering on their own, praise them. Giving them a high five and telling them that they did a great job will go a long way in the beginning that habit of gratitude, and while forcing a thank you may not equal gratitude right away, it is a good first step.

Ask Gratitude Questions

A way to take it a step deeper once your child starts saying “thank you” is by asking them questions about the why behind doing so. Questions are one of your most powerful tools as a parent because you are allowing your child to take ownership of their answers and discover what is important on their own rather than just telling them.

In this situation, you want your child to understand why they should show gratitude, so start by asking them how the gift made them feel.  You can ask if they want others to know how they feel, how to best show their appreciation, or why it is important to show their thankfulness. The more questions you ask, the more they will start understanding the issue.

Model Gratitude

This step is one of the most important ones. Everyone knows that kids are like sponges and will mimic their parent’s behaviors. They look up to you and will follow your example. Therefore it is vital that you set the precedent for showing gratitude. A simple way to do this is by making sure that you tell your kids thank you when they do something for you. This not only shows your child that you appreciate them, but it gives them a behavior to model in their own lives.

Make Gratitude a Habit

Gratitude is not just saying thank you, but it is looking for things to be thankful for in your life. Some excellent ways to incorporate this into your family’s daily life are by creating something like a gratitude jar where you can write something you are thankful for on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. Once your family has filled up the jar, it can be such a joy to take everything out and read over it. This activity can also be great when you or your kids have a bad day and need something to remind them to look on the bright side.

You can also incorporate gratitude into your daily life by having everyone share something awesome that happened during the day, or by starting the day by saying something that they appreciate about each other. You could even turn it into a game by going through the alphabet and listing something you are grateful for. No matter what you do, by making it a part of your daily life, you will be reminding yourself and your kids what they have to be thankful for, and therefore they will be more likely to appreciate everything that they have.

Gratitude is an important emotion for young children to learn. If you’re looking for a daycare center that helps you teach your children these key skills, visit The Learning Experience’s website today!

You can also find one of our many daycare centers near you by visiting Find a TLE Center.

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