One of your first lessons should be to demonstrate to them just how thankful you are for having them as your children. Make a point of telling each child why they are special to you, and do this fairly often.
Don’t forget that your actions speak louder than your words. Things like giving them a quick hug or pat on the head can speak volumes, even as they turn into teenagers!
In order for you to teach your children the meaning of gratitude you need to know what you are grateful for yourself. Take a few minutes each day and contemplate this. Here are some questions you could ask yourself:
- What makes you grateful to be a parent?
- What is it about your child that makes you grateful?
- What family members are you grateful for and why?
Then don’t forget to ask yourself how you can show your gratitude to others. This might include volunteering at your child’s school or helping to run a Christmas play or bake sale. This will also help teach your children the value of giving to others and helping out in your local community.
As a parent you know the importance of leading by example, and this should spill over into all areas of your life. Young children are like sieves, they watch your every move and soak things up more than you may ever know. They instinctively know when you are upset or not feeling well. These same instincts can be applied to the practice of showing gratitude and being thankful.
Ensure that as a family you spend time together during all those important holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, as well as birthdays and anniversaries. Celebrating milestones is another wonderful way of teaching your children how to be grateful.
Don’t overlook the small things in life either. If your child has tried to pack their lunch, appreciate what they have attempted. Don’t just tell them they didn’t get it right. Show your appreciation for the fact that they wanted to help you out. This will not deter them from trying again, instead they will keep on wanting to please you in any way possible.
Start today by working on ways to teach your children the meaning of gratitude. This will allow them to share this meaning with their own friends and acquaintances.