Five ways to foster an attitude of gratitude in your children

Discovery Place Kids Rockingham

There is always something for which a child can be grateful, but sometimes in their quest for the latest and greatest, children forget all the things they already have. That can become particularly evident around this time of year. Luckily, the Season of Giving also provides plenty of opportunities to help develop your child’s attitude of gratitude.

Here are five ways to encourage appreciation and gratefulness in children (plus some useful books on the topic):

1. Cost correlation

Teach them what things cost in a relatable, practical way. Is your 7-year-old begging you for a laptop or smartphone? Tell her the cost, but also share with her how many hours of work that amount of money means for you as her parent. As we’ve all heard before, money doesn’t grow on trees, and the more children understand the process by which it is earned, the better they’ll grasp exactly how big of an ask they are making.

Want a fun book for younger kids to start understanding the concept of money a little better? Check out the adorable Sheep in Shop by Nancy Shaw.

2. A word of thanks

When your child receives a gift, whether it’s a holiday gift from his Nana in another state or a birthday present from a classmate, be sure he sits down and writes a thank you note to the gift giver. If he’s too young to write, he can always draw a picture. This instills gratefulness in your child and teaches him to respect and appreciate others.

Check out the entertaining Thank You, Miss Doover, for a humorous read on children learning to write thank you notes.

3. Out with the old

Is the play area in your home overflowing with toys that just don’t see the light of day anymore? Perhaps it is time to help your child sort her toys and decide what she wants to keep and what she’s willing to give away to someone in need. This is especially useful just before a child’s birthday or other big gift-giving holidays. This process is an opportunity to remind your child how lucky she is to have in abundance and gets her thinking about empathy.

Want to give it a try? Start out by reading Too Many Toys with your child to get her prepared for the decluttering mission that lies ahead.

4. Here to serve

Exposing your child to the world around him helps to show that not everyone is afforded the same opportunities or fortunes in life. Get him involved volunteering with organizations near and dear to your family’s heart or set up ways he can earn money to donate to a certain charity. You can always start with smaller acts of kindness and build up to a full day of volunteering depending on your child’s age.

A staple in the world of children’s books, The Giving Tree, is a great read to teach kids about generosity.

5. Just say no

We all want our kids to be happy so it can be hard to tell them “no” when they are asking for things that we could, feasibly, manage to get them. But every case of the “gimmes” doesn’t require a yes from mom or dad. In fact, teaching children that they don’t always get something just because they want it means they may learn to appreciate what they have a whole lot more. Some psychologists even argue that hearing “no” builds character in children.

Read I Just Don’t Like the Sound of No to help your little one accept “no” as the final answer.

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  • Discovery Place Kids