Research shows that thankful people are usually more optimistic. They are less depressed and stressed.
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.