Parents have good reason to teach their kids to be grateful for what they have in life (like people who care about them, a home, food, and an education). A recent study on gratitude has shown that kids who are truly thankful for what they have also have more of a chance of being emotionally, physically, and socially successful.
Here are some tips on teaching kids to be grateful, from gratitude expert Dr. Jeffrey Froh.
Seven tips for a more grateful child
- Set an example: When possible, show thankful behavior yourself. “Thank you for taking out the trash.” “Your teacher is great — I’m glad she helps you with your questions.” “I’m grateful your grandma can stay with you while I have to go out tonight.”
- Make space for thanks: Allow time to remember the good in life. Whether or not you’re religious, you (or your child) can say a family prayer or simply a moment of thanks before eating. “Thank you for our family and this meal.”
- Pay a thank-you visit: Have your child write a card to someone who did him a favor, then read it aloud to the person.
- Write it down: Leave “thank you” notes to people in your family. (Kids loving get notes in their lunch boxes.) “Thank you for helping me make your lunch today!”
- Be grateful for what the world offers: With your child, focus on what is given freely in the world—the sight of autumn leaves, for example—and enjoy the experience together. “I’m so thankful for this weather we’re having! Let’s go out and play for a little while.”
- Remind your child why being grateful helps: Explain how being grateful improves your child’s relationships: “That was kind of you to thank your friend for the homework help. That’s what friends do.”
- Point out who has helped your child: When your child reaches a goal—whether it’s turning in a big homework project on time or scoring a run in baseball—point out who helped him succeed. “Your team is lucky to have a coach who’s taught you so well.”