Although children can be taught to say "Please" and "Thank you" at a very young age, many of those children may not feel truly grateful or understand the concept of feel thankful towards receiving that new gift, or at having family members visit them from out of state, or any other scenarios you could think of where you would expect your children to show a grateful and thankful attitude. Fortunately, however, it is quite easy to raise a grateful child. This article focuses on some easy tips for parents on how to encourage thankfulness in their children's behavior.
Children Learn By Example
It is important to remember this: all children learn by example. Even if your child has not quite mastered his pleases and thank yous, you can teach him by your example. Say, for example, that your child has been given something simple like a snack during his play date. If he doesn't say "Thank you" on his own, you might consider saying "Thank you so much!" for the gift that your child has received. This will teach him that saying his thanks is the appropriate thing to do because he saw you do it. If you are especially enthusiastic about your thanks, your child will undoubtedly be paying attention. He will learn to be grateful to those who do kind and helpful things for him.
Keep this in mind: although you may be tempted to tell your child that you didn't hear him say thank you, refrain from doing this. Expressing his gratitude likely has not become a habit yet. However, by seeing you express your gratitude, he will quickly learn that it is polite to not only feel gratitude, but show it as well.
Encourage Thank You Cards
Teaching your children by example is an excellent idea, however, another wise idea that will teach children to be grateful is to encourage kids to write thank you cards. This can be started at an early age, as soon as they are able to write fairly well. To make this an activity that kids want to participate in, you could consider letting your kids pick out some cards or stationery that they like and ordering it for them. You might also consider encouraging the kids to decorate their cards or stationery after they've written their thank yous. This will make writing their thank yous a lot more fun for them. By beginning this practice at an early age, not only can you make this activity a habit, but you'll also be teaching them to be more grateful about the gifts they receive during the year.
Allow Your Child to Be an Active Participant in Gift Giving
When other children's birthdays and other gift giving holidays come around, it can often be difficult for your child to understand that the cool new toy you're purchasing isn't for them. It is a lot easier to go shopping for other children with your kids if you make them an active participant in gift giving. Ask them what kind of toys that cousin Sally would like. Let them help you pick out a gift. Ask their opinions about gifts that you would consider purchasing. Not only will this distract your kid from the fact that they aren't getting anything, but it will also make them more involved in giving gifts. It will also teach children how awesome it feels to give gifts, not just how awesome it feels to receive them.
By following this (any any other tips you might come across), you will be able to successfully raise a grateful and polite child. By simply leading by example and encouraging good habits in your children, your children will soon begin mimicking your good behavior and learning habits that will make them into thankful, polite beings. Not only will this behavior reflect well on you and your children, but what they learn will be able to help them for years to come.