Thanksgiving is a time when many get together with family, spend time together, and reflect on what they are thankful for. As Thanksgiving week comes to a close, you are likely reflecting on the blessings in your life. Hopefully, you were able to come up with some things you are thankful for, whether it is for your health, your children, your job, or simply your existence.
If you are a parent, you likely want to raise a child who is thankful for what he or she has. Being able to see the positive in situations and remain grateful even in tough circumstances can be difficult, and it can be an even more difficult concept for children to grasp. After all, how can we expect them to be thankful for the broccoli on their plate that they don't want to eat simply because there are children around the world who do not have access to food? They are not old enough to grasp this concept, and it's not tangible to them.
While as time goes on, your child will get a firmer grasp of the world and what he or she has access to that other people do not, that doesn't mean he or she will choose to be thankful for these things. There are some things you can do to help your child realize the importance of being thankful, even during times when things don't seem that great. For your child, it could be not receiving the right toy at Christmas, or being upset that vegetables are served at every meal. Here are some tips to help lead your child into an attitude of thankfulness.
Set an Example
Children are like sponges; they are incredibly absorbent. They pick up on things you may not even realize. Have you ever heard your children say a word that you weren't even aware was a part of their vocabulary? They are frequently watching you, even when you aren't looking. This is why the most important step to raising a grateful child is to be grateful yourself. This can be difficult in certain situations, but finding the positive instead of the negative can be a great first step. Here are a couple examples:
When you are exhausted with your work hours, take a moment to vocalize in front of your children how thankful you are that you have a job that provides for your family and gives them everything they need. When you have a cold that simply won't go away, take a moment to share with your children how glad you are that everyone is generally healthy. When your television stops working, tell your children how grateful you are that you have them to keep you company instead.
It may seem simple, but this is a great first step. A bonus is you will likely learn to appreciate life more.
Give Them Opportunities
Giving your children an opportunity to express their thankfulness is another important step. Perhaps while your family is gathered around the table at dinner, you could have everyone share something that happened in their day that they are thankful about. It may be a struggle at first, but as time goes on, you will likely find everyone is able to come up with several things they appreciate daily.
Volunteering can show your children what they have. Perhaps serving a meal in a homeless shelter or collecting toys for children who don't have any would be a good start. This will help show them that nothing in life is guaranteed and let them see how blessed they are to have all that they do.
Being thankful can be a challenge sometimes, but the more you practice it, the easier it will become. Instilling this in your children will help them grow up to be grateful for what they have.