Sunday Snippet: 8 Phrases to Help You Raise a Grateful Child
Gratitude is a difficult value to instill in our kids because it runs much deeper than simply saying “please give me the cookie” and “thanks for the toys.” While a basic “please and thank you” are wonderful, gratitude is about appreciating what you have when no one is looking. It’s about carrying feelings of thankfulness with you throughout the day. So…how do you teach kids to go beyond basic pleasantries of “please” and “thank you” and nurture authentic gratitude and appreciation? These 8 phrases are great to instill gratitude in your child:
“Name your daily gifts.”
At some point during each day—doesn’t matter when—sit with your child and name the “gifts” received that day. These aren’t gifts received in a wrapped box with ribbon. These are things you are both thankful for that happened in the day.
It’s an alternative to “What are you thankful for?”
Daily gifts could be anything: people, toys, food, quality time, or random things. The point is to look at all the things we experience each day as a gift or present.
You could even get a kid’s gratitude journal and help your child write in it each day!
“Let’s have a ‘Do Good Day’.”
What’s a ‘Do Good Day’? This is a day once a month where you and the kids go out into the community to do something for others. This money can be raised by encouraging your child to do chores, so they can earn money for the Do Good Day, where they do things for others.
For example, you could make dog treats for the humane society or go shopping for items to give to the local homeless shelter.
Whatever you would like to do in your community, try to have on Do Good Day once per month to help your kids learn how to give back to others. This is a huge component of gratitude.
“You loved it when…”
Whenever your kids particularly enjoy something in the day, it can be pointed out using this phrase. This helps kids learn to recognize all the positive things happening throughout the day.
You hug each other and smile… “You loved it when we had time to focus on each other.”
You can even make sleep sound awesome: Your child wakes up happy in the morning, ready to face the day… “You love it when you get a full night’s rest.”
You can even help them find gratitude in a seemingly negative situation! You make dinner and your child hates it… “You love it when we don’t pressure you to eat things you don’t like.”
“You are a helper.”
Kids are already filled with greatness. We just need to help them recognize it and draw it out. Saying “You are a helper” allows your child to recognize this quality, and when kids recognize positive qualities in themselves they will start to show you more of those.
“That shows you care”
A huge component of gratitude and appreciation for others is showing that you care. Even when doing something routine like putting away the toys or carry their dishes to the sink can be rewarded by saying “That shows you care.”
This helps to specifically recognize that you think of them as thoughtful and caring. You can easily swap this phrase with “That shows you’re thoughtful” or “That shows you’re considerate.”
“What can we give or share with someone else today?”
One study found that toddlers exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves. Further, children are happier after engaging in costly giving – forfeiting their own resources – than when giving the same treat at no cost.
This could be as simple as sharing something with a sibling. Or giving a hug to someone. Kids can also give time or kind words. They could share a treat, or they could donate a toy.
It could be anything that fits within your parenting boundaries, but the overall goal is to give or share something once a day.
“We’re so lucky to have…”
This is an easy one that can be used at random times during the day. It can be something small like, “we’re so lucky to have Adele on the radio, or “We’re so lucky to have coffee for mommy.” It can be simple and fun. However, “we’re so lucky to have shoes on our feet” and other phrases of the like point out that not everyone is as fortunate as we are and to be grateful for what we do have.
“Isn’t it amazing when…”
This is very similar to the one above, but is simple to change up the phrases used throughout the day. It might sound something like, “Isn’t it amazing when we are all home together for dinner?” Or “Isn’t it amazing when we get to snuggle on the couch together?” Or “Isn’t it amazing when we feel safe to share our thoughts and ideas with each other?”
Although some of these phrases may sound a bit cheesy, they work wonders to draw out your child’s gratitude for the little things in life. When you sit down at the end of the day to “Name Your Daily Gifts” with your child or he asks to have a “Do Good Day” with you “just because it sounds fun,” you’ll appreciate the time you spent deeply weaving appreciation, thankfulness and gratitude into your child.
Source: The Military Wife and Mom