Children who are raised to be grateful appreciate the things they have, are more likely to help others and make the world a better place. Teaching gratitude also teaches kids how to cope with disappointment and how to be humble. In this article, we will discuss how to raise a grateful child, and provide some tips and activities that you can use to help instill gratitude in your child.
How to Raise a Grateful Child in an Instant Gratification World
It’s not always easy to raise grateful children in today’s society.
With instant gratification available at the touch of a button, it can be tough to get kids to appreciate the things they have.
This can be a challenge for parents, who find themselves constantly reminding their children to say thank you, or to think about how others might feel.
Fortunately, there are some things parents can do to help their children be more grateful.
By taking the time to talk with kids about gratitude, and by encouraging them to participate in activities that foster appreciation, parents can help set their children on the path to a lifetime of thankfulness.
Why Gratitude is Important for Kids
Gratitude is an important emotion for kids to feel because it helps them appreciate what they have.
When kids are grateful, they’re more likely to act in kind ways towards others and be happier overall.
Other benefits of gratitude include:
- – improved mental health
- – stronger relationships
- – higher levels of self-esteem
- – better physical health
- – increased sense of happiness
All things that parents want for our kids.
While we all know that we’re supposed to feel thankful for the things we have, most people don’t realize that gratitude can have a huge impact on our health and happiness.
In fact, gratitude is one of the most important emotions we can feel.
Studies show that grateful people are more likely to have better physical and mental health, stronger relationships, and higher levels of self-esteem.
So how can you raise a child who is grateful?
Activities to Encourage Gratitude in Children
As an elementary school teacher, I can tell you that children learn more through experiences than lectures.
I can also pretty much guarantee that your child will not begin to develop a sense of gratitude just because you tell them to.
In fact, they’re more likely to tune you out!
Instead, focus on providing opportunities for your child to appreciate how fortunate they are and what it feels like to bring joy to others when they express their feelings of thankfulness.
Here are some activities that you can do with your child to foster a sense of appreciation:
1. Gratitude Share
Have your child share three things they’re grateful for each day.
This could be something as simple as having a clean bed to sleep in at night or getting to eat their favorite meal for dinner.
Encourage them to think about all the little things that make up their life and how fortunate they are to have them.
This is a great activity to do around the dinner table or before bed.
2. Gratitude Jar
This is a fun activity that the whole family can participate in.
Each day, have everyone in the family write down something they’re thankful for and put it in the jar.
At the end of the week, take turns reading what everyone has written.
You’ll be amazed at how much you have to be thankful for!
3. Service Projects
Getting involved in community service projects or helping out your neighbors is a great way to foster gratitude in kids.
Simply knowing how good it can feel to help others will encourage your child to do more acts of kindness and appreciation.
4. Leave Thank You Notes (for your kid)
To really allow your child to feel the impact that expressing gratitude can have, leave thank you notes for your child around the house.
For example, you could leave a note on their bed thanking them for making it or put a note in their lunchbox expressing how grateful you are for their help with the household chores.
Your child will feel appreciated and loved, and they’ll be more likely to express gratitude themselves.
5. Count Your Blessings
Sit down with your child or gather the entire family and try to write down everything you can think of that you’re thankful for.
Make it a fun game or challenge and see if you can come up with 100 reasons to be thankful.
6. Random Acts of Kindness
This is one of our family’s favorite holiday traditions.
It’s the perfect way to let your child see how much joy can be brought to someone else’s life simply by doing something nice for them.
Whether it’s helping a neighbor rake leaves or surprising a friend with cookies, showing your child how powerful acts of kindness can be is a fun way to foster gratitude.
Your child will feel good about making other people happy and you’ll be teaching them an important lesson about gratitude.
7. Learn About Other Cultures
Another great way to foster gratitude in children is by exposing them to different cultures and traditions.
Spending time in other parts of the world or even just watching documentaries or YouTube videos about how other people live can help your child develop a sense of empathy and appreciation for all that they have.
8. Model a Thankful Heart
Children learn from what they live.
When young children see the adults in their lives expressing thankfulness and appreciation on a daily basis, they will be likely to mimic that behavior.
If you want to raise thankful kids, be sure to express gratitude.
Showing apprciation for the little things on a regular basis is a great habit.
By sharing your feelings of gratitude for a satisfying meal, beautiful sunset, or a relaxing day at home sets a great example for your kids.
When your child sees how appreciative you are for all that life has to offer, they’re much more likely to do the same!
9. Practice Mindfulness
Teaching your child how to be in the present moment is a powerful way to encourage an attitude of gratitude.
Mindfulness can be especially helpful for teens or any child who is anxious and tends to focus on everything that can go wrong.
By practicing mindfulness techniques, you can help your child learn how to let go of negative thoughts and focus on being grateful for the good things that are happening right now.
10. Avoid Instant Gratification
Another one of the best things you can do to raise a thankful child is to avoid giving them everything they want.
So many parents make the mistake of thinking that their children will be grateful if they spoil them.
Instead, they end up with ungrateful kids who think they’re entitled to everything.
While it’s normal for kids to ask for things, try to set limits and teach your child how to wait for what they really want.
This will help them develop patience and appreciate the things they have more.
11. Encourage Good Manners
One thing that is missing in our society today is good old-fashioned etiquette.
And this is more than just forcing our children to say those magic words “please” and “thank you” in everyday life.
Events like holidays and birthdays are the perfect time for teaching our kids how to show appreciation for what they are given.
Requiring your kids to sit down and write thank you cards for birthday and holiday gifts will help them internalize those feelings and reduce their sense of entitlement.
12. Set Healthy Boundaries
In addition to avoiding instant gratification, it’s important to set healthy boundaries with your kids.
They need to know that they can’t always have their way, be lazy, or disrespectful and still expect to have many of the privileges they enjoy.
By setting limits and requiring them to earn certain things, you’re teaching them an important lesson.
This will not only help them respect others and understand how to be a part of a community, but it will also teach them how to appreciate the little things that they probably take for granted.
13. Gratitude Journal
A simple way for older kids to create a gratitude habit is to start a journal.
Using the end of the day to write down a list of the things that went well can instantly improve a bad mood.
This is an especially powerful activity for anyone who tends to focus on the negative.
Even just taking a few minutes to pause and realize there is always something to be thankful for can stop a cycle of depressive thinking.
The journal can also serve as a collection of positive thoughts that can be reviewed at any time.
The Benefits of Raising a Grateful Child
When kids are appreciative, they’re more likely to report feelings of happiness and have better mental and physical health.
As parents, we have a huge impact on how our children view and experience the world.
By providing opportunities for them to feel thankful, we can help raise a generation of thoughtful and kind children who will grow up to make positive contributions to society.
But the benefits don’t stop there.
Gratitude can also help kids succeed in school and have stronger relationships.
Teaching children the importance of gratitude takes time, effort, and patience, but it’s worth it.
By teaching your kids how to have a grateful heart, you’ll help them develop into happy and well-adjusted adults.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can transform lives. Putting forth the effort to instill it in your children will allow you to see how it changes their lives for the better.