Thank goodness for Thanksgiving! It’s our once-a-year reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for. If you are like me, it’s also my once-a-year reminder that I need to be more thankful the REST of the year. As a mother, I’ve tried to instill a culture of thankfulness into my children. Fortunately, it’s an easy thing to do. Here are a few simple ideas:
1. Help your children to notice all that they have to be thankful for by pointing out the wonders and goodness around them. For example, a trip to the park can include the comment, “Aren’t we lucky to have such a great park near our house? I’m so glad it is here!”
2. Thank your children when they do something good or kind, better yet, do so on a regular basis.
3. Teach your children about the freedoms they have and enjoy. That way they will learn to value the freedoms they have and will learn to be a good citizen.
4. Freely and openly thank others in front of your children. Saying thank you to a caring friend in front of your child is a very valuable lesson.
5. Turn unexpected or negative events into an exercise in gratitude. For example, a rainy day that caused a trip to the beach to be canceled can be turned into an exercise in gratitude. “You know, this rainy day is the perfect way for us to bake your favorite cookies. If it weren’t for the rain – there’d be no cookies!”
6. Every now and then, ask your children what they are most thankful for. You’ll be amazed at what they say!
For more helpful advice on how to raise thankful kids, check out the book, Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson. Susie has a wonderful perspective on how to raise your children to be thankful and content without all of the latest and greatest material possessions. Another great parenting resource is the book Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes. Another good read is Raising Real Men, Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal & Melanie Young.