Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaching Children Gratitude

To me, there is nothing more important than teaching a child the art of kindness and gratitude. Here in the US as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, it's nice to refresh ourselves on ways to pass along these important values to the little people (and big people) in our lives.

Here are some tips on this topic, from parenting coach, Dr. Goode:

Teaching our Children the Joy of Being Grateful
Dr. Caron B. Goode

Seven Simple Ways to Teach Your Children Gratitude 

  • Daily Dose. Take time each day to encourage your children to express gratitude. They can do this by making an entry in a family journal or by simply talking about what they are grateful for.
  • Model Thanks. As with everything, modeling is the best way to teach your children to be grateful. Be lavish with your thanks. Thank your children for hugs. Thank the cashier for ringing up your groceries. Thank the bus driver for returning your students home safely. Letting your children see that you are grateful will encourage them to be so as well.

  • Establish Rituals. We all know the importance of family rituals. Establishing rituals that highlight being thankful is a wonderful teaching tool. Start dinner with each family member sharing what they are most grateful for. Say goodnight by sharing what you were thankful for that day. Any ritual that based on gratitude will reinforce its power.

  • Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way for your children to see gratitude in action. There are numerous chances in every community to volunteer. Homeless shelters, nursing homes, and mentoring programs are just a few. There may also be other opportunities closer to home. Perhaps an elderly relative or neighbor could use a hand. It feels good to help others. Therefore, your children not only benefit from that, but they also get to experience the warmth of appreciation. Two things for which they can be grateful.

  •  Assign Chores. Children learn by doing chores. They learn what it means to be part of a whole. They learn their contributions are important. They also learn that most things take effort. Simple household chores can help children learn to be grateful when they benefit from the efforts of others.

  • Thank You Notes. Writing thank you notes for gifts is a very literal way of teaching your children gratitude. Putting down on paper what they enjoyed about a particular gift, reminds your children why they are grateful for it.

  • Find Your Gratitude. Always be on the lookout for things to be grateful for and express your gratitude. When your children hear you say things like, “Buster is such a good dog” or “What a beautiful day”, they realize they can be grateful for even the smallest of things. 


Now that you have those tips in your pocket, you can dive right into this fun family project that emphasizes gratitude....

give thanks paper quilt by amy of lets-explore.net

I LOVE this Give Thanks Paper Quilt Project by Amy of lets-explore.net  It's not very complicated and you can used up the crafty stash you have on hand at home. Have your kiddos do these individually or work together to build a mega paper quilt!

  • 18x24 inch canvas (use whatever size you'd like you'll just need to adjust your other measurements as well)
  • scrapbook paper (cut into 3" squares)
  • white cardstock (cut into 3" squares)
  • Mod Podge (or other adhesive)
Cut your papers, then arrange patchwork style onto your canvas. Then have your kiddos paint/draw all the things they are grateful for onto the WHITE squares, then let them dry. Next glue all your papers onto your canvas using the Mod Podge.

Easy peasy, right?! Thank you Amy for your brilliant idea! I KNOW I'll be making one with my kiddos next week!

Now go and spread some gratitude friends!

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