Teaching children to be thankful isn’t always easy. People could give you advice till the cows come home but each child is different. We seem to forget that there really isn’t any one cookie cutter way to teach them. The one thing that is universal: setting an example! Showing thankfulness yourself is the best way to teach thankfulness. Here are a few more ideas you can try with your child:

Read books that convey the value of gratitude:1

Reading together is a powerful tool in your child’s world. Choose stories that demonstrate relatable characters showing gratitude.

Be a doer, not just a talker:

Have a family meeting and ask your child what they would like to see done for the less fortunate. You may be surprised as to what your child has to say. If age appropriate, spend time as a family volunteering in a soup kitchen or habitat for humanity.

Keep a journal of thanks: Every day or two, take 15 minutes with your child and write down what you are both grateful for. This will help your child learn to consciously look for things to be thankful for.

Stop and cherish small moments and victories together:

We tend to take things for granted if we don’t stop to smell the roses, as they say. Take time out once or twice a day and cherish small victories and other moments with your child. These are the memories they will hold onto as they get older.

Show gratitude toward your children:

We are very busy doing everything from cooking to chauffeuring. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush and forget to appreciate our kids. We need to take time out and show our kids how much they mean to us, tell them we love them and that we are thankful for the little things they do.

Have a donation Christmas instead:

Instead of getting gifts this year, have everyone buy a gift for a hospital patient. Wrap the gifts and deliver them personally as a family. Your children will get a firsthand look at the faces of the patients, especially if they are other kids who have to spend their holidays in the hospital.

Show your kids how it’s done:1

When you are baking holiday cookies, bake an extra batch and give it to your neighbour. Shovel an elderly person’s driveway. It’s kind of a monkey see, monkey do scenario. You have the biggest impact on your child’s life; demonstrate how to show kindness to others without expecting anything in return.

Give the animals a gift:

Buy a bag of dog food, a treat or toys and bring them to the local animal shelter for the lonely animals. Not only will they get to see the animals smiling faces but they will get to play with some lonely animals and come out feeling like a million bucks.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.