Have you ever heard the phrase, “No one is born grateful?”
Gratitude is a learned behavior, which can be tricky with toddlers as they are a bit selfish by nature. Instilling gratitude in young children will help them remain grateful as they age, but it’s not too late to influence your teenagers, too.
If your children are grateful for what they have, they are more likely to be happy now and later in life. In fact, according to a Harvard Health Publication study, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
So, how can you teach your children gratitude?
In Early Childhood and Elementary School
Children model their behavior after their parents’ actions, so it is important to lead by example.
The earlier you model gratitude with your child, the more successful your child will be at both demonstrating and feeling it.
In Middle School and High School
Teaching a teenager gratitude can be a bit more difficult. As teens embrace their individuality, they also distance themselves from their parents. Sit down with your teenager and discuss the difference between a person’s rights and privileges. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have what we do.
For example, you can explain that in our country, your child has a right to a public education, but it’s a privilege for him or her to participate in afterschool programs, events, and social functions.
Here are some other ways to introduce gratitude to your teenager:
Regardless of the age of your child, be patient. Children are constantly growing and changing, but the investment you make now will be worth it in the future.
Do you have a routine, approach, activity, or conversation topic that has helped instill gratitude in your child? Please share what has worked for you in the comments below.