Grateful kids are less likely to whine or argue when they don’t get what they want. They appreciate what you, teachers and others do.
And they’re more pleasant to be around. So they get along better with others.
Here are ways to teach gratitude.
When your child has a birthday, don’t let her just tear into gifts:
- Ask your child what she might say or do at her party to show guests she is happy they came.
- Help your child make a small token of appreciation to give guests along with a smile or hug and a spoken “thank you.”
- Shift the focus from gifts to families who come to celebrate with your child. Have them help open the gifts they give.
Other ways to teach gratitude:
- Expect your child to show gratitude for things you do.
- Say, “thank you” and “that means a lot to me” to your child when she does something for you or behaves well.
- Have each person at the dinner table describe something good that happened during the day.
- Expect your child to make requests politely. If she uses a demanding tone, say, “I’m sorry. That’s not the way to ask me.”
- Teach empathy. Volunteer together at a homeless shelter or a retirement facility. Ask your child to think how others might feel.
- Start a “Gratitude Calendar.” Have family members write things they are grateful for on the calendar each day.
- Have a bedside chat as you tuck your child in each night. Review what made each of you thankful during the day.
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