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17 May

Here are some simple ideas that you can use to teach your children why they should be grateful. There are so many things wonderful things that occur throughout the day that we usually take for granted.

1. Set the Right Example.
I so often enjoy hearing parents telling their toddlers “Thank You”. Gratitude is best learned through example. The best way that we can teach children to show respect is by modeling the behavior we want them to learn. After all, children do learn what they live.

2. Role Play
Role play games with your children that model the virtue of gratefulness. Teach them to be grateful by playing the part of the recipient of an unexpected “thank you”.

3. Teach Your Child How to Be of Service to Others.
We can teach children to be grateful by using the simplest examples, such as holding a door open for someone. A perfect stranger will model the behavior of appreciation by gratefully saying “thank you”. The child will learn that little “events” like this will put a smile onto a person’s face and give them a lift for the day.
How often do small examples of gratitude occur during your normal day at the grocery store, the doctor’s office or at the mall.

4. Teach Your Child to Be Grateful by Keeping a Journal
An easy way to teach kids to be grateful is by keeping a journal. You may find “The Daily Gratitude Journal Software” useful for this. There is a kids version and an adult version.

5. Children Can Learn to Be Grateful When Going without Normal Amenities

I live in the beautiful Ojai Valley where we are very proud of our trees. On occasion a lightning strike will knock out power in our neighborhood for several hours. This example is a good time to teach children to have appreciation for things that are usually taken for granted. Things like heat, and electricity and watching television are a few examples that come to mind.

6. Kids Can Learn to Be Grateful for Life’s Little Things
Our children so often take for granted the things that they always expect to be there for them. These things are so taken for granted that kids really don’t pay attention to them. Examples of this are things to be grateful for could be things like having plenty of food to eat, lots of cool toys, friends to play with and even the privilege to go to school. Showing examples of how third world children go without is good way to learn appreciation for what we all have.

7. Children Can Learn to Find Good Even in People They Don’t Like
Negative experiences can be used to teach children how to be grateful. I’m reminded of the Disney movie “PollyAnna” where PollyAnna played the “Glad Game”. She found ways to be grateful for in any situation. I recommend renting this video. Watch it and discuss it with your children. It could end up being a wonderful, gratitude building family activity.

Throughout your day, exhibit the great and wonderful things going on behind the scenes that are so often taken for granted. Remind your children of the different people who are always there to serve us. People like the Firemen who are there to rescue us when we’re in trouble. The Sheriff’s Deputies who protect us from harm. Don’t forget the grocery store clerk that you can count on to be there doing her job when we need to buy our food. Saying “thank you” to these people during your daily activities will teach your children to be grateful by modeling the sort of appreciation we want them to emulate.

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