I always make Pook say Please and Thank You for the little things and now it has got to the point where she will say it independently when asking for something. I have already started with Meemoo using baby signing and saying ta. However it goes both ways so I make a point of the girls seeing me say Please and Thank You to others and to them.
author at The Adventures of Meemoo and Pook. Follow Gemma on Facebook and Pinterest.
At an early age, I believe the best way to teach gratitude and thankfulness is to model them yourself. Say “Thank You.” Talk about the things that you are grateful for as a family, include your children in ways that you give back, and don’t dwell on things that you want or do not have.
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I like to get my children to make something for their teachers at the end of the year. We also give them something else but I think the act of making it is a good way for the kids to focus on what they’re doing. It’s a chance for us to chat about all the things that they do for the kids too.
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Showing your toddler by example is the most effective way to teach gratitude. Remember to say, “Thank you so much!” when your child does something helpful or kind. I also love telling my children how thankful I am that they are “mine.” It’s important to talk to your children – even when they are little – because they can understand concepts long before they are able to freely express themselves. Showing gratitude for simple things is also a great way to demonstrate to your child how to be grateful. “Thank you, Jesus was the beautiful sunshine.” or “Aren’t you glad we have a nice warm home to live in?” And finally, allow your children to help others in need. Each year during the holidays we pack and deliver food baskets for needy families and that has made an impact on our children’s hearts.
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I have found giving service to others a great way to teach my young children to be grateful for what they have. We also make sure to “count our blessings” fairly regularly, so the entire family can remember all the good things we have.
author at Mommy Crusader and her Knights and Ladies.
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At dinner each day we say one thing we’re happy or grateful for. It’s a good way for the adults to remember that there’s always something to be thankful for too!
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Teaching children gratitude early on means we are teaching them to respect too. We would say ‘thank you very much’ to them when they were babies. We also say it on their behalf to others. As they got bigger, we would remind them to say so. We also thanked people when they bought gifts by making them a card or a special something. We love to craft and it was always fun to get down with the little one to make something. They enjoy making the card and then giving it. Usually our relatives put it up to show everyone how proud they are of their neice or nephew thanking them. At bedtime, it is a part of their routine to pray and remember to thank God for everything through the day. We pray, they say ‘Amen’.
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My toddler understands this concept — we talk about how we are blessed to have a roof over our heads, a heated house, water, etc. This ties into “don’t waste resources” and learning to turn off lights when leaving a room. We donate our well-loved toys and clothing to those in need, and at Christmas our children select a toy of theirs to give to “kids who don’t have any.” We found it’s easier to help them relate to this concept when you talk about how sad “those kids” must be and how happy they would be if they were able to have some toys to play with
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From when they are still too young to speak, I have talked to my daughters about “Magic words” that open all the doors to good things. We have had fun singing and playing along with Barney’s Please and Thank you song. (clip from YouTube.com down in the article.)
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