When we teach our children to appreciate what they have, we are, as parents, helping them take the
first steps towards becoming happier, healthier adults.
As a concept, gratitude can be tricky for toddlers and preschoolers – as, at that age, they are naturally
self-focused. As they grow older and understand the importance of gratitude, they become more
understanding of the needs and feelings of others. The first five years are a great opportunity to help
them develop the skills they need to be successful later in life.
Here are some tips gathered from child development experts and websites:
Teach them to say thank you to the people who do things for them. That can be their server at a
restaurant, a brother or sister who helps them pick up toys, or a friend who gives them a birthday gift.
Tell your kids why you are grateful for them. Be specific in letting your children know they are special
and loved. For example: ‘I appreciate the way you help your brother tie his shoes.’
Talk about the things you are grateful for. This can be done in many ways, from a blessing before
dinner to keeping a family gratitude journal.
Support a charitable event or organization. Whether you are donating clothes or toys, participating in a
food drive, or baking cookies for a new neighbor, talk to children about what those actions mean to
those who receive the kindness.
Be consistent. Like all skills, gratitude is not learned in one lesson.