Raising Thankful Children
Look for ways to be involved in community giving with your child
Between ages 2 and 3, you can begin to talk with your child about how he/she can help others who don’t have as much as he/she does. Look for opportunities with a clear connection between your child’s efforts and the recipients.
Good choices include:
Helping dogs/cats at your local shelter: We are playing with these dogs and cats who need lots of love and attention.
Collecting canned foods for a local food pantry: We are helping people who need more food. They will eat the food we bring. Our food will help them feel strong and healthy.
Collecting jackets, hats and mittens for a local children’s program: The jackets we bring will help other children, just like you, stay warm during the winter.
Prompt children to use thankful words
Thankfulness is a complex idea. It will be a while yet before your child truly “gets” it. But reminding children to say “please” and “thank you” (beginning at about 18 months) is a good start. Because it will take some time for them to learn when to use these words, you’ll probably be providing prompts for a while.
Show thankfulness to your children
It’s easy to forget, but important to do. Thank you for cooperating at the doctor’s office. Thank you for getting your jacket when I asked. Thank you for coming right away when I said it was time to leave the park; I know it was hard for you to get off the swing. Thank you for your hug—it made me feel so happy!
have more energy and optimism
are less bothered by life’s hassles
are more resilient in the face of stress
suffer less depression than the rest of us
are more compassionate
are more likely to help others
are less materialistic
are more satisfied with life.