Teaching children to be grateful is an abstract skill. Being Grateful, also know as Gratitude, is a warm feeling of appreciation or thankfulness towards specific items, individuals, actions, etc. Learning how to say thank you is the foundation of showing gratitude. It is also an important sign for good manners and the best place to start with teaching gratitude.

You can start teaching your child to say “thank you” through American Sign Language from infancy. Start to teach the sign “Thank you” by modeling it. Whenever your child hands you something say, “Oh! Thank you!” and sign “Thank you”. You can also cue your child to respond with a “thank you” when someone gives them something.

Sign Thank you

1. Hold one flat hand up to your chin, palm facing in.
2. Pull the hand forward until it stops palm up.
3. Make sure your face looks like you are also gracious and saying thank you! Give a little smile and maybe a nod.

How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude in Children

 

  1. Teach your children manners. The universal ideas behind good manners remain: common sense, consideration of others, and custom. The best place to start is by teaching your child to use “please” and “thank you“.
  2. Model Gratitude.  During your daily routine show your children what you are grateful for by the way to take care of thing and talk about them. Tell your children what you are grateful for including them and their contribution to your family.
  3. Teach your child to compliment others. Encourage your child to find things that they appreciate about others and to share it with them in the form of a complement. For example, “You are such a great helper. Thank you.”
  4. Share what you are grateful for. Make a daily habit of sharing what you are grateful for. Have each member of the family share what they are thankful for that day. This can be done at dinner or bedtime.

How Parents Can Foster Gratitude in Kids

Gratitude Activities

  • Family Gratitude Jar. Find a jar, cut paper into slips and place beside the jar. Family members can draw a picture or write what they are thankful for. At the end of each week, review what the family was thankful for that week.
  • Thank you notes. Think about someone who was generous, helpful, or nice to you recently. For younger children have them draw a picture (write the note for them). For older children have them write a note. Help your child mail or deliver it to the person.

Hopkins Thank You Card

  • Family Gratitude Collage. Get out your art supplies! Everyone draws pictures of what they are thankful for then you hang them together. You may want to place them on a poster board or on a door.
  • Thankful Turkey Handy Craft. Each family member traces their hands on different colors of paper. Cut them out to make the turkey’s feathers. From now until Thanksgiving write one thing you are thankful for on each hand that is cut out.Thankful Turkey