If you are blessed to be a parent, there is no greater joy or victory than raising your child to be a good human. Gratitude is a learned behavior. With the blessing of parenthood comes the responsibility of being a teacher, a mentor, a light, and a role model to the children in your family. Your child is going to watch you closely, which gives you the perfect opportunity to teach and show them how to be grateful.
It is going to be a lifelong journey as any gratitude practice would be, but raising grateful children will increase the impact of gratitude’s contagious nature and make such a difference in your life and those around you. Raise your children to be grateful and foster goodness inside of them.
5 Ways to Raise Grateful Children:
Here are 5 ways to help your kids foster an attitude of gratitude and a few inspirational ways to raise them to focus on being grateful.
- Start a gratitude practice as a family. Coming together as a family to practice gratitude is so impactful. No matter your beliefs, you can practice gratitude as a family daily. It can be through prayers before dinner, a conversation at the table about the best parts of your day, naming your blessings on the way to school, or simply giving your child a gratitude journal for kids. Empower your children to see the blessings before them rather than the negativity of the world, and watch their light grow.
- Give your children chores. If they understand that not everything is a handout or automatic, they will begin to understand the blessings they have in front of them. It also helps them understand that if they want something, they will need to work for it and they will be that much more appreciative when they earn something instead of having it handed to them.
- Volunteer together. A wonderful and memorable way to teach gratitude to your kids is by having them volunteer. I have memories helping at the church toy drive or writing letters to soldiers during the holidays as a young girl, and I am so glad my parents taught me the importance of volunteering at a young age. It lessens the focus of superficial things and instead focuses on people. As we know, people are at the core of gratitude and people are why gratitude is so contagious and infectious. Kids can volunteer at nursing homes, host a bake sale and donate the money, help out an animal shelter, or donate a toy to a women’s family shelter. Getting your kids involved in the community has the added benefit of allowing you to come together with them for additional family time, too.
- Teach them with your own actions. Your kids are watching you at all times and will imitate your every move. Teach gratitude by example, and spread thank you’s to those around you.
- Travel as a family. We have found that nothing is quite as humbling as traveling to learn gratitude and to understand that the world is big. Travel also gives us an incredible opportunity to expand our personal gratitude practices, as it gives us so many experiences, memories, connections and beauty to be thankful for! Let your child see the world from every angle and open up their eyes to how big and beautiful the world is.
Our children are constantly growing, which means their personal spirit of gratitude is going to be evolving all the time. Instinctively, children tend to be selfish because their worlds are so tiny, but there is so much power in teaching them how to behave and act. This starts with us!
You have the ability to make a difference and it is your responsibility to teach them to be grateful. Have patience with them as they learn and adapt the spirit of gratitude, and remember that while it may be frustrating at times, they will continue to grow. “Me, me, me!” will turn into “together, us, we”, and eventually they will blossom into the young men and women you raised them to become, with mindful and grateful hearts.
We are so grateful to know there are parents like YOU in the world that care enough to pass the spirit of gratitude along to your children! Spreading gratitude can change the world and there is no better way to do that than to come together as a family in a gratitude practice.