Raising children in a society that is focused on the immediate, and the latest and greatest everything can be a challenge. We are fighting against the instant ability to have information at our fingertips. So, how can we raise children that are thankful and not raise children that complain when they don’t get the new toy or their favorite food in their lunchbox? There are ways and things we can implement to help our children and ourselves become more thankful, not just for a holiday, but the whole year long.
As adults we need to be an example to our children and families. It is easy to find reasons not to be happy or thankful these days, but we need to do our best to be a positive example and teach our children the importance of thankfulness. Teaching our children to say “thank you” for a gift or act of service is the first step, but we can’t just stop there, we need to go beyond that, so they develop a grateful attitude. Try being the example, and instead of complaining about the wait in the grocery line, smile and compliment the cashier. Even when we don’t think they are, our children are watching us and how we respond to situations. Take notice of your own attitude and “thankful meter”. Are you complaining about things more often than you are showing gratitude? Be intentional, thank your children, spouse, friend, or neighbor in front of your children so they can see what it looks like to show gratitude.
Plan some activities to do with your family to implement “being thankful”. With the holidays around the corner there are endless opportunities to give and serve. Even very young children can do things for others. Make cards for your elderly neighbors or save up money to buy gifts for a family in need over the holidays. Cook a meal or bring baked goods
to someone you know who is alone or sick. Doing things for people without expecting anything in return is a great way to be a role model to our children. Practice talking about things you are thankful for with your family, big or small. Thankfulness is a habit, and it should be practiced. It will help your children grow up to become thankful adults when they practiced being grateful as children. It is far easier to complain and be upset for the things we don’t have, but it is much more rewarding to live a thankful lifestyle.
Take time to come up with some things your children have that they can donate or give to someone in need. As parents we all want to give our children the best gift and things that they really desire, but it is not necessary to give them everything that they want, especially immediately. Teaching our children to wait for something they want can help them develop a thankful attitude. Giving gifts or doing acts or service or kindness for people we know and don’t know is a great way to instill a grateful heart in our children.
Take the time this holiday season to implement some thankfulness practices or ideas that you and your family can do to show thankfulness to others and watch your happiness soar!