The goal of parenting is simple: to raise healthy, happy, and grateful kids who will venture into the world someday and make it a better place. One of the best ways for us to achieve this is to foster gratitude amongst our children. How do we raise kids who will be appreciative of what they have, and how do we instill a desire to help others? Here are some of our favorite tips for cultivating gratitude and encouraging our kids to fall in love with giving back:
Model gratitude firsthand with the way you treat others. Have you ever heard the expression that actions speak louder than words? Our children are always watching us, whether it's an interaction with an employee or the way we speak to our own friends and family members. If we are modeling love and respect to everyone around us, our children will learn to do the same.
Volunteer with your children. One of the best ways to instill a sense of gratitude in your children is to give back to your own community. Look for ways to volunteer with children of all ages, and teach them the importance of making others feel special and loved. Whether it's adopting a child in need to shop for this holiday season, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or writing Thank You cards to soldiers, volunteering with your kids is a great way for them to learn the importance of giving back.
Create a gratitude tree and incorporate gratitude into family conversation. One of the best daily reminders for cultivating gratitude is with a gratitude tree! You can download a great Printable or create your own with or without a tutorial. Incorporate what you're thankful for into regular conversation, such as at the dinner table. Take the opportunity to discuss your day and tell your children firsthand what events occurred that brought you joy. This will help them view the world with a grateful lens.
Give your children responsibilities and chores at home. One great way to cultivate gratitude is to give your children age appropriate chores and other ways to help around the house. This will not only foster the mentality that your family unit is a team, but it will also instill gratitude in your children for all the hard work that goes into running a household. Learning how to complete household tasks will also help your children acquire life skills that will serve them well through adulthood. Check out this great list of chores by age for ideas on how to get your children helping.
Write Thank You Notes, and teach your children to do the same. Sending a Thank You is a great way to teach your children to appreciate anything they are given by others and to continue fostering gratitude. Keep in mind that you do not have to go the traditional route with Thank You Notes. You can send Thank You text messages or a Thank You email, but get your kids in the habit of thanking others who think of them and go out of their way to make them feel special.
Verbalize your own gratitude. It might sound simple, but incorporating words into your daily language such as "thankful" and "grateful" will help cultivate gratitude amongst your children. Taking the time to express what we're thankful for will show our children how to do the same.
Do you have any other ideas about how to cultivate gratitude? We'd love to hear them!