We all want our children to say thank you, but more importantly, we want them to learn to appreciate things. I often hear from parents that they do everything for their children but rarely hear “thank you” in return. And the main thing here is to teach your children not just to say “thank you” but appreciate things they have or others do for them. 

Children simply do not always know how to appreciate what we do for them. And if they do, they do not know how to express their gratitude. Your main mission as a parent is to show how the magic of being grateful works. And I want to share with you some of the ways to cultivate and develop the feeling of gratitude in your kids. There are different approaches, but the below ones have proven to be the most effective.

#1 – Tell Your Child About This Feeling

The child does not know what it is like to be grateful. You will hardly hear “thank you” from a kid who simply has no clue of what this phrase means. The task of parents is to teach the child to recognize emotions. Explain to your kid how you should react if you want to say “thank you.” Seize the moment when the baby can feel it and pay their attention to it. Besides that, you can always remind your kid to say “thank you” at the right moment. 

Don’t expect your child to learn everything from the word go. Be patient and exercise. This is the very step to nurturing the feeling of gratitude that worked well for my kids and children of my friends.

#2 – Provide Examples From Someone’s Life

When a child has everything he/she wants, it is difficult to appreciate what it is like not to have something. Words about how difficult it is to be poor or to have stingy parents are almost empty words for a kid. That’s why it is so important to show your child a movie that talks about a difficult childhood, introduce low-income families. Alternatively, bring them for a visit to the orphanage with gifts from KeaBabies. Only from their personal experience, children learn that they need to appreciate what they have and be grateful to their parents for it.

#3 – Do Not Forget to Say “Thank You” Yourself

Children do what their parents do. The same refers to feelings – children learn to feel what their parents are feeling. A grandma brought you a cake or apples? Take your time to say “thank you” and show your gratitude instead of just carrying it to the kitchen. The kid himself prepared sand and mud soup for you? Say “thank you; it is very tasty!” You have been given a seat on the subway? Thank a person with a smile. The child will “absorb” all that and do the same.

#4 – Talk About What You Are Grateful For

It is good to ask children to explain why they are grateful without judging or scolding them for not appreciating something. In this way, you can get to know your children better and discover the points that need to be strengthened in order to develop gratitude in them. Adults should also explain to children what they are grateful for. In this way, they can expand their vision of the world and start a dialogue that will teach youngsters to appreciate the good things that are happening in their lives.

#5 – Say “Thank You” to Children

When children do something good, thank them. Show your gratitude to them in the same way that others are expected to thank them. This is part of the example you should be setting.

In this way, your children will learn that they are important and that there are simple things that others like and that make them happy. 

#6 – Teach Them to Appreciate What They Already Have

Try to teach your children to be grateful for what they already have. Practice making lists of things you and your family are grateful for. This will help avoid feelings of greed and selfishness.

#7 – Talk to Your Children

Discuss with your child how you can express your gratitude. You can do a drawing, make a gift, etc. Your main mission is to teach your child to accompany all these symbols with words of gratitude. It is important here not to cross the line when a child associates the feeling of gratitude with something material. 

It Can Be Challenging. I Know

Teaching children to be grateful is not a one-day stroty. I recommend that you sit tight and stick to your “strategy.” It will pay you off well in the future.