Teaching Your Child Gratitude
One of the first phrases we teach our children to say is “thank you”. We do this to instill good manners into our children, hoping that they learn the concept of thankfulness. Thankfulness is in the moment and usually it is pertaining to something tangible whereas gratitude goes beyond thankfulness.
According to research done by UNC Chapel Hill’s Raising Grateful Children Project, “while 85% of parents said they prompted their kids to say “thank you,” only 39% encouraged children to show gratitude in a way that went beyond good manners.”
Take “Thank You” to the Next Level
Gratitude encompasses thankfulness and appreciation on a daily basis without necessarily involving tangible items. The Raising Grateful Children Project has broken up gratitude into four parts:
- Noticing – Recognizing the things you have to be grateful for.
- Thinking – Thinking about why you’ve been given those things.
- Feeling – The emotions you experience as a result of the things you’ve been given.
- Doing – The way you express appreciation.
Why is it Important?
The developmental ages of a child strongly shape their outlook on life. As mental health continues to grow as a priority in society, gratitude can be a great skill for your children to learn. Practicing gratitude requires a deeper look into your life. It makes you appreciate the people in your life, and allows you to focus on positive things. That means no matter how small they may be; and of course, it makes you grateful for where you are in life. This can help eliminate stress, improve sleep and boost confidence!
Putting Meaning Back into “Thank You”
Take the time to talk to your child about gratitude. This includes everything from small day to day things that bring your child joy. Show them how to recognizing the people in their lives and how they have a positive impact in their life. Keeping a gratitude journal has been an activity that has been gaining popularity within the last handful of years. It is the perfect way to keep track of the positive things that you experience daily. Your child can do it on their own or use books like The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids (2019). This book provides prompts for children to reflect upon. Check out our free printable activity sheet with a few gratitude prompts that your child can share with their nearest and dearest, perfect for the holidays!