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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the words “grateful” and “thankful” are thrown around quite often. And while we think it’s a great time of year to embrace it, we always try to to cultivate an environment that fosters that in our kids year-round. How do we do this? We are open about our feelings, engage in activities that promote empathy, and encourage positive relationships among our friends and family. How can you do this at home? Here are 5 easy ways you can cultivate thankfulness in your kids’ lives year round.
5 Ways to Encourage Thankfulness
Be a Teacher and Model an Attitude of Gratitude
Every day we have several reasons to be thankful. Acknowledging these things, moments, and experiences are important. Everyday activities are great ways to model this behavior for our kids. Going out to dinner, checking out at the store, receiving your coffee order etc. are all great ways to show manners and say “thank you” to anyone who helps you throughout the day. The more you do this, the more it becomes second nature for your children to model your attitude of gratitude.
Be Vocal about what YOU are Grateful for
Kids are like sponges and recreate what’s around them. If you vocalize when you’re thankful for an experience or how someone treats you, make sure to express that. As kids see and understand where these feelings of gratitude come from, they’ll think about things in their lives that they are appreciative of. These may even be small, trivial things, but can transfer to larger things as they embrace the feelings.
Support a Local Cause
Showing that you’re grateful and want to give back to an organization can show how they can give back in the future. Larger organizations with a cause naturally provide causes to care about and grateful behavior. Make sure to explain to your children how your contributions or time spent can directly impact things bigger than them.
Table Talk: What are we thankful for and Why
This may be a nightly talk or dinner conversation. We often do this around the Thanksgiving dinner table, but adding it every day can increase your kids’ thankfulness year-round. It’ll also be great for them to see their parents and siblings partaking.
Try to Acknowledge when kids are being Grateful
Feelings and emotions are big and sometimes hard to understand as a kid. If you notice your kids being grateful or thankful, it may help to have a conversation. Acknowledging when they have these moments encourages the behavior and naturally promotes this behavior more frequently.
Cultivate Thankfulness Everyday
Our friends at Kids R Kids Avalon Park cultivate thankfulness in their students year round. All kids in their programs participate in many activities that will naturally promote gratefulness for many things they encounter every day. In their classrooms, thankfulness is practiced and encouraged year-round.