Sharing Gratitude with Our Kids

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Raising grateful, generous children is important to our family.  So we incorporate (okay, try to incorporate) ways to share gratitude with our kids – and teach them about expressing their thanks.  With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought I’d share my favorite couple…and in return ask what your family does!

Talk about gratitude openly, everyday

Sometimes, family dinners just do NOT happen during the week with our school, activities and work schedules. Sigh.  So during at least one car ride a day (because I swear, we spend at least three hours in the car on any given day…), whoever is in the car talks about what they’re grateful for.  This morning, my three-year-old enthusiastically announced:

Mommy, I’m thankful for:

Disneyland
Trains
Monorails
Lunch
Merry-go-rounds
Grass and trees
Roads
All of my toy cars
Bridges
Potties (yes, he actually said this!)
Restaurants
Phones
Horses
Zebras
Our trash cans

Obviously, he had a lot on his little mind!  But since we try to do this exercise everyday, it’s getting easier and easier for my kids to share what they’re grateful for. And the sincerity that follows is pretty adorable!

Pick a family service project to do once a month

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a handful of my favorite service projects to do with kids.  We try to do one project a month. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, and it’s hopefully teaching them to think about something bigger than themselves.

Oh…and those little magic words!

I keep seeing that cute little image floating around on social media that says, “Please and thank you are still magic words.”  I couldn’t agree more. Who’s with me?!

While we’re at it, I want to throw these also into the mix…

Excuse me.
I’m sorry.
I forgive you.
May I?  

Because I think teaching my kids to be grateful includes teaching them about respect.

So, we practice.  Everyday.  At home.  At Target.  At the park.  At meals.

We practice saying these little “magic” words while looking in someone’s eyes…and not at our feet.  Or the ceiling. Or our fingernails.  And, it’s hard.  Really hard sometimes.  Because my little ones don’t always have the patience (or desire) to use their manners.

But, we’re all a work in progress, right?!  And I think working with them a little everyday is (hopefully!) making a difference.  Fingers crossed, one day my three-year-old will say “Excuse me, please, AND thank you,” in the same breath.  Can you imagine?!

How do you share gratitude with your children?  Any favorite traditions or activities that work for you and your family?  Please share below!

Photo credit: Flickr, “Give Thanks”
LicenseCopyright All rights reserved by knitalatte11
http://resurrectionfern.typepad.com/resurrection_fern/2011/10/giving-thanks.html

2 Comments

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  1. 1
    Jen says:

    Love these ideas! I also make sure my kids write their own thank you notes when they receive gifts as that is another way to teach them gratitude and how to let someone know they appreciate it!

  2. 2
    Christy says:

    Thanks Jen…and love your thank you note idea!! Even if your little one is too young to write, they can draw pictures 🙂

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