Did you know January is National Thank You Month? It's the perfect time to help your little ones learn to have an attitude of gratitude and practice saying “Thank you.” Here are three ways to help your family learn to be more thankful.
1. Set an example
Kids are inclined to watch their parents and pick up on their behaviors. If you consistently model an attitude of gratefulness, your children are likely to learn to be grateful as well.
Be sure to set a good example by saying thank you sincerely and often. And, remember to treat all people with respect, from other drivers on the road to people you meet in passing to the waiter who serves you your food to their teachers to your boss. There are countless opportunities every day to be kind and show our gratitude.
2. Send thank you cards
One of the easiest ways for kids to express thanks is a simple, handwritten note. Although young children who are just learning to write can’t compose long letters, they can draw pictures or sign their name.
When we encourage our kids to verbalize their gratitude routinely, we teach them that saying thank you is a worthwhile habit—hopefully, one that will stay with them.
Check out these great Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Write Thank You Notes from Alyssa Chirco of STL Parent.
3. Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great exercise that the whole family can benefit from doing together. It helps teach us there is something to be thankful for every day, even if some days we need to search to find it.
Get everyone excited by buying some cute journals or providing some craft supplies so that everyone can decorate their notebook. Don’t forget to include younger children who might not be able to write yet, because you can help with recording their answers.
Start by setting aside some time each night to encourage your child(ren) to tell you three things about the day for which they are thankful. Some days their answers may be as simple as a glass of milk, friends, and sunshine. Other days their answers will be more insightful and show they’re developing a grateful spirit.