Raising children is a lot of work. We all want our children to be the best they can be! But even the smartest of children need to have great manners. One of the hardest things to teach children from an early age is how to be grateful. Here are 10 tips to help raise a grateful child.
- Model appropriate manners.
Manners start with you! Who else is your child watching day in and out, learning the most from? Make sure you are using everyday manners such as saying “Please” and “Excuse me”. Children quickly pick up and copy what others around them are doing–good or bad! So make sure you are setting a good example and you will be raising a grateful child.
- Set high expectations for behaviors around others.
Teach your child that it is good manners to hold the door for others, or to take your shoes off when entering someone else’s house. Figure out which behaviors are most important in your family. Let your child know exactly what you expect. Practice these and expect them when you’re home as a family and your child will continue to do these behaviors around others.
- Teach the gift of giving.
Something that is very hard for children is wanting more and more of things–especially toys! Toys can quickly take over anyone’s house. Spend time going through toys and clothes to donate together with your child.
- Show appreciation.
Make sure you are showing appreciation and being grateful toward your child! Showing appreciating consistently at home will lead to your child showing appreciation out of the house.
- Count your blessings.
As a family it’s important for you all to know what exactly to be thankful for. When you count your blessings, you make your family–and child–aware of just how much you do already have. No matter how much or how little your family has, every family has things to be thankful for.
- Role play-practice!
Children aren’t born knowing how to act when they open another gift of clothes from grandma when they really wanted new Legos. Before a holiday or birthday, take time to role play together how to act and things your child can say when they open a gift they might not have wanted (but they probably needed anyway!).
- Talk about things ahead of time.
It’s important to talk about how to act before entering a situation. Are you going to be at a family reunion dinner? Make sure your child knows that they are expected to use their manner words. Talk about and practice waiting for turns to talk and not interrupting to get mom or dad’s attention. Will you be at a school open house? What expectations do you have for your child’s behavior there?
- Even talk about shopping trips!
Shopping trips can be a trap for families! It helps to let your child know ahead of time whether or not they will be getting a toy or treat on the trip that day. Making sure they know ahead of time will help diminish disappointments and meltdowns at the store.
- Thank you letters-even when there’s not a “gift”.
Get in the habit of writing thank you letters or giving people a thank you phone call when your child receives a gift or card. Not only that, but it’s also a great habit to write thank you cards or let someone know you appreciate them even when there isn’t a tangible gift. How about writing a thank you note to a teacher? Or maybe a thank you note to a neighbor or grandparent?
- Talk daily.
Every night at bedtime or dinner, talk about something you were grateful for that day and ask your child what they were grateful for as well. This will help your child think outside the box of gifts when thinking of things to be thankful for.
Do you have any other suggestions for raising a grateful child?