A child’s gratitude naturally grows from a loving, mindful connection to their parents. When you listen and actively engage with your kids, you are planting the seeds of gratitude. The message is that they matter and that you are grateful for the love and time that you share.

What is Gratitude? 

Gratitude, as an individual character strength, is defined as “I appreciate the good things that happen to me.” Appreciating the good things that happen to you, both big and small, can have an exponentially positive effect on your mood and your life.

How can you celebrate Gratitude with your family?

Begin by modeling Gratitude. Your children are always watching you and, more importantly, looking up to you. The things you do and say will impact them and influence how they behave. An easy way to model gratitude in your daily routine is to tell your kids “Thank you” any time they cooperate or do something you ask them to. Really reinforce this by thanking them if they do something without being told. 

Next, notice any time your child expresses gratitude. When a child says “thank you,” they are expressing their gratitude. Whether they are saying it in response to a gift, a hug, or picking them up from basketball practice-make, note of this. Try saying, “I love what a grateful spirit you have,” or, “thanks so much for always remembering to say thank you.” It will make a difference. You may even hear them say thank you more often! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Show gratitude for who they are as a unique individual and all of the wonderful strengths and personality traits they exhibit.  Focus on what they are doing right much more than what they are doing wrong.

Make gratitude part of your family’s routine. This can be daily, monthly or annually. An easy way to do this daily is to have everyone share one thing they are grateful for at dinnertime. Too busy to have dinner together? We get it. Set an intention to find time each day to share what you are grateful for. From breakfast to bedtime, there’s always time for a moment of gratitude.

You can further integrate gratitude into your family by planning a day each month to volunteer for a cause that is important to your family. Helping others deepens your feeling of gratitude as it makes you more grateful for the things you do have. Go even further with a big annual gesture; run a 5k as a family that supports a cause you love, volunteer at a food bank during the holidays, find something BIG to give back to the community.

What If My Child Struggles To Express Gratitude?

When children seem ungrateful, it is most important to get curious about the need and feeling underneath their behavior. Addressing the root cause of their feelings compassionately will usually resolve the issue. 

Need more help? Schedule a parent coaching session today!