Raising Grateful Children
In this generation where kids are exposed to far more things than we ever were, we see wish lists a mile long and rooms and closets full of things that are not always necessary. We still see these same kids whining for even more things and parents often giving in. Let’s not forget to teach our children how to be grateful. These lessons, taught from an early age will ensure that your children grow up with good groundwork.
Jar of thanks
I have seen this work well for children of all ages. For young preschool children, the Jar of Thanks can start off as a craft activity. Take a large empty spaghetti sauce-sized jar, or an even bigger one and get your pre-schoolers to decorate it with glitter and stars or whatever they like. Explain to them that anytime they experience a moment where they feel something is really special, they can write it down on a strip of paper and put it in the jar. Encourage them to be thankful for something each day. At the end of the month, they can take out all these strips of paper and read them with fond memories. This works well with older kids too; the key is to find something to be grateful for every day.
Act of Kindness Journal
This is a great activity in which children learn kindness and gratitude. Let your child pick out a journal from a bookstore. In this journal, they enter an entry every night about an act of kindness they did. It could be simple acts of kindness by young preschool kids like cleaning the table for mum, helping a younger sibling to clean up, feeding the dog or anything that they are capable of. This acts of kindness work in two ways. They teach children kindness and gratitude for what they have and others may not have. We tried this for a year on 15-year-olds and they came up with great acts of kindness including helping the blind cross the street, washing a neighbour’s car, helping senior citizens with grocery shopping and so on.