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Top 5 Ways to Create an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Child

Here are five practices that I use with my son that you can easily utilize to create an attitude of gratitude in your child.

5 Ways to Teach Your Children the Skill of Gratitude

5 Ways to Teach Your Children the Skill of Gratitude

Gratitude, also known as thankfulness or gratefulness, is showing appreciation for the things you have in your life, regardless of their monetary value. According to Harvard Medical School, gratitude has many benefits, such as promoting a positive mindset, reducing stress, allowing you to be better equipped to face difficulties, and making you an overall happier person.

I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of teaching children to be grateful from a young age. When you teach a child how to view the world through a positive lens, they will grow to become physically and psychologically healthier adults.

Raising a grateful child is a lifestyle choice. It involves making certain lifestyle changes that will expose your child to and involve your child in different activities to promote thankfulness. It only requires small daily choices which will eventually become a part of the way your child goes through life.

1. Be a Role Model

A lot of what children learn is from what they see happening around them. If you want your child to be a grateful person, it’s important that you are also a grateful person. By incorporating an attitude of gratitude into your daily life, your child will learn to do the same by following your example.

Many of us parents and guardians want the absolute best for our children but forget that education begins at home, from the moment that child is born. During the fundamental years of a child’s life, the people they spend the most time with are their parents. It’s crucial that these children are given a good example to emulate.

There are so many people who look back on their childhood and remember different attributes of their parents that they appreciate as adults. The way that you carry yourself as a parent or guardian will impact your child for many years to come.

In my daily life, I make use of every opportunity to be grateful, not only when my son is around but in every situation. By doing so, it has become second nature for me to be thankful in every circumstance. Whether it's something as simple as having a sunny day or getting the last donut from the bakery, I've shown my son how to appreciate life.

If gratitude isn’t part of your regular daily life, it’s never too late to begin. Consider this an opportunity to develop an attitude of gratitude in both yourself and your child.

Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.

— John Wooden

2. Teach Them to Say "Thank You"

Saying thank you is such a small and easy way to incorporate gratitude into your child’s life. Teaching your child to say thank you whenever they receive something or someone has done something kind for them teaches that child to recognize moments they are able to show gratitude to others.

By teaching your child to say thank you to others also eliminates the feeling of entitlement your child may feel. Saying thank you allows your child to recognize how important it is to show gratefulness for what they receive from others. It also teaches them to appreciate the small things.

I've heard a lot of other parents complain that it's difficult to get their child to say thank you. What I've done, from the moment my little boy learnt to speak, I would remind him to say thank you when someone has done something for him. The trick is to help them to understand why they're saying it in the first place, that it goes beyond simple pleasantries.

For example, I would say to my son, "It was really nice of your grandma to bring you a slice of cake. Did you say thank you?"

This is such a simple way allowing a child to recognize that someone has gone out of their way and done something kind for them. It allows the child that moment to take a step back and feel as well as express appreciation.

The ability to show gratitude to others will also help your child to develop richer friendships and relationships with others as they get older. Being ungrateful can be such an unattractive character in a friend or partner. By teaching your child something as small as saying thank you to others, will eventually make them a better person.

Teaching your child to show appreciation to others from a young age will positively impact them in the long run.

Saying thank you is such a small and easy way to incorporate gratitude into your child’s life.

Saying thank you is such a small and easy way to incorporate gratitude into your child’s life.

3. Give Them a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a mindfulness tool that you can use with your child to create an easy, regular gratitude practice for your child. The purpose of the journal is to allow your child the moment to reflect on their life and decide on the things that they are grateful for.

The journal could be used daily, every other day, or once a week, whatever suits your child’s needs and schedule best. The most important thing is to get them into the practice of taking a moment to reflect on all of the blessings that they have and allow them the chance to be thankful for it.

By introducing this practice into your child's life from a young age also teaches your child how to develop and stick to a routine. Maintaining a morning or evening routine is something that’s difficult for even adults to accomplish. This practice will allow your child to be a more productive adult who is capable of developing and maintaining healthy routines.

Additionally, if you choose to use the gratitude journal as part of their bedtime routine, your child will be going to bed feeling calmer, more centered, and will be more likely to have a good night’s rest.

If you don’t know where to find a gratitude journal, I would highly recommend a quick search on Amazon. There are journals with spaces for your child to write in three things they are grateful for, someone who brought them joy, their overall feeling during the day, and a space to draw or write what the best part of their day was.

If purchasing a journal isn't possible for you, fear not, you can make your own! Just get a cute notebook and get creative. Have your child decorate the cover with markers, stickers or even paint and on the inside you can write down different gratitude prompts that your child could use.

I love the simplicity of journaling because expressing gratitude shouldn’t be a difficult or complex process.

4. Involve Your Child in Volunteer or Charity Work

Involving your child in volunteer or charity work is an easy way to keep that child grounded in reality. There are so many children who live their lives unaware that there are other people in need of the things that they take for granted. It’s important, even at a young age, that children are taught about the importance of giving back and volunteering for worthy causes.

By being honest with your child and teaching them that there are vulnerable people in the world and even within their own country or city, it not only allows them to be grateful for what they have but also forms them into someone who is willing to lend a hand.

Gratitude isn’t only about appreciating what you have but also the awareness that giving from what you have doesn’t leave you with any less, because there is always something to be thankful for. From a very young age, I taught my son to donate clothes, shoes, and toys to children who are in need. Now, there are times where he will come to me with suggestions of other children we can donate things to.

Children are never too young to learn the importance of helping those in need. When you raise a child who has an attitude of gratitude, they become adults who aren’t afraid to give from what they’ve been blessed with.

5. Create a Family Gratitude Practice

Another fun and easy way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your child is by involving the entire family. By creating a family gratitude practice your child is able to see the other members of the family expressing thanks for different things in their lives and would encourage them to want to do the same.

What is a family gratitude practice? Put simply, it’s something that your entire family does in order for each family member to show gratitude. It’s unique to every family and should be something that every member finds easy and enjoyable.

Some examples of family gratitude practices include:

  • Sharing something you are grateful for at the dinner or breakfast table
  • Creating a gratitude jar where each member of the family is able to write something down and put in the jar, at the end of the week you all could read them together
  • Putting up a chalkboard or whiteboard in a common space of the house so that every member of the family is able to write down something they are grateful for each day
  • Carving out a special time of the day or week where everyone comes together and shares the things that they are grateful for

It might seem difficult to stick to these practices at the very beginning but as your family gets used to it, this will become second nature. Also, not only will you be raising a grateful child but every member of the family will also develop a deeper sense of gratitude through this practice as well.

By creating a family gratitude practice your child is able to see the other members of the family expressing thanks for different things in their lives and would encourage them to want to do the same.

By creating a family gratitude practice your child is able to see the other members of the family expressing thanks for different things in their lives and would encourage them to want to do the same.

A grateful heart is such an important characteristic for any child to have. In order to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your child, you must be prepared to live a grateful life, teach your child the importance of saying thank you, promote mindfulness techniques like using a gratitude journal, involving your child in giving back to those less fortunate, and involving the entire family in this endeavor.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Sherelle Timothy