Wednesday, November 19, 2014

6 Tips for How to Raise Thankful Children

With Thanksgiving approaching and Christmas around the corner our thoughts naturally turn to thankfulness, leading me to ask

 How can we raise thankful children in a culture that promotes an attitude of entitlement?

Here are 6 tips to help us all in our quest to raise
more thankful children.  

1.  Model Gratitude.   Attitudes (like gratitude) are caught not taught.  Are you thankful?  Do you verbalizing what you are thankful for? How do you express your gratitude non-verbally? If you need help living a more grateful life, pick up a book like One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  

2.  Be tuned into your child.  This lets them see that you are grateful for THEM.  Put the phone down when they are talking.  Don’t interrupt.  Be really present for them.  Invite them to join you on an errand rather than running out for a rare moment alone.

3.  Help your children recognize their strengths and how they can use their strengths for the good of others.  

4. Encourage them to be intrinsically motivated.  When they have goals that are intrinsic in nature, fulfilling those goals satisfies some of their basic human needs.  Being happy and thankful, depend on those other needs being fulfilled as well.

5.  Encourage good manners.  Saying please and thank you, writing thank you notes, being respectful to others, being cooperative and generous -these are all essential things that help people just get along. When you teach your children to use good manners, they internalize the message behind the manners.   "I respect you, I value you".  That is the message that using manners conveys. 

6.  Get specific.  Be specific and intentional when you talk about the things which you are thankful for.  The more specific the better! At evening prayers, rather than saying “Thank you Lord for my kids – say “Thank you Lord for the way Gracie helped JR find his belt today.”  

Other practical ideas:

Start a Thankfulness Jar.  Have your kids write down what they are thankful for daily (or more often) and put it in a jar to read on Thanksgiving.  Remind them that they should think about people also and not just things for which they are grateful.

When you say prayers at night, be sure to add “Thank you Lord for _____.”  A good prayer life has a mix of worship and thanks - not just demands.  

Let your kids savor the things in life that they really enjoy – even when these are different from the things you enjoy.  Let them talk and share their excitement with you, let them listen to their kid songs, let them read kiddie literature (my boys love garfield!), let them tell you knock knock jokes.  Try to see  them as Christ sees them!

 I hope this helps!

Thanks for stopping by!
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