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Teach an Attitude of Gratitude


Here are some ideas on how to model gratitude from Zero to Three, an online resource for people who love and care for children ages zero to 3:

  • Show appreciation to your children. Appreciation can be an even more powerful motivator than praise.
  • Show appreciation for others. Never underestimate the power of your words and actions. You set a great example when you model kindness, generosity and gratefulness in your own everyday interactions.
  • Use the word “grateful.” Children need to learn what this new word means.
  • Share “roses and thorns.” Even young children can talk about what went well (roses) and what was hard about each day (thorns). It gives them, and you, too, a chance to vent a frustration and focus on what is good in life.
  • Emphasize presence over presents. You can make giving the gift of time and activities, such as a birthday picnic and trip to a local park, a habit, as opposed to giving “stuff.”
  • Talk openly about donations and other “good deeds.” You don’t have to have a lot of money to make a difference. If you have money in your budget to donate to a favorite cause, share this giving with your children.

People who are genuinely grateful most of the time tend to have a more positive outlook on life. This should be reason enough to help our children learn more about gratitude.

For more information and a list of recommended children’s books on being thankful, check out the Zero to Three website.