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How to Teach Children about Gratitude - The Most Important Practice for Life

Gratitude is a complex concept that many adults struggle to implement in their daily lives. It can feel awkward for us to set out time each day to write down or think about all that we are grateful for, but why is that? Why is it so difficult to pause from life’s constant stresses just to say thank you for the shelter, nourishment and security we have? Maybe, it’s because we weren’t taught how to be grateful as children.

While we can try to remind ourselves to be grateful for the big and even minuscule things in our lives, let’s not burden the younger generations with what it feels like to not be thankful for whatever it is that brings them joy.

Here are a few tips on how to teach your little ones about gratitude.

  1. Saying Thank You: Children are taught how to say thank you after something is done for them or given to them not only because politeness is a big part of kindness, but because it teaches them to be thankful for being provided help, and gifts, or compliments.

  2. Be Grateful to Your Child: Children pick up on how their parents or peers speak to them or around them. Keeping this in mind, telling your child why you are grateful for them or something they have done will help them adopt the concept of gratitude better. For example, if your little one helped a friend in school, let them know how grateful you are that they are so kind and thoughtful with their friends.

  3. Share What You’re Grateful For: This can be as simple as being thankful for a sunny day or the food on your plate. Your child will pick up on your words and soon will start sharing that they too are thankful for a variety of things.

It is important to keep in mind that children are very impressionable, especially until the age of 5, so teaching your young children about gratitude is better done sooner. Being thankful leads to being more optimistic, and can also give your child tools to handle stress when they are older.

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