Say, "Thank You." Teaching Kids the Power of Gratitude

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photo by brooksma

So I'm flitting around CafeMom and I stumble across this question: How do you teach kids to appreciate? Simple enough Q, I figured. And a great one to ponder today because CM is having a "party" to celebrate the launch of Daily Buzz (of course, you're invited)--and gifts come with parties! Unfortunately, some kids get presents and don't remember to say thank you. Teaching children the value of "thank you" while young isn't only about manners though, it's also about a larger life lesson--the power of gratitude.

My friend MommyWisdom (and believe me, they don't call her that for nothing), is a mother who lives her life with total passion for sharing the power of gratitude (her daughter was born at 28 weeks). Let her tell it, everyday is a cause for celebration! Here are her top tips for instilling genuine gratitude in kids--and in us!

Focus on the Positive: When we focus on the negative it blurs everything else. Noticing what's positive in your life seems to magically amplify the good things. When your children start being negative, help them flip it around by reminding them of what's truly wonderful in their world.

Pay attention to the small stuff in nature: In this high-tech world, we are all moving too quickly. Slow down and take time to talk to kids about things in nature, like the relationship between bees and flowers for example. Bet they are both really thankful for each other!

Say 'Thank You' to them: Kids will only remember to say thanks if they hear it all the time. Thank them for every little thing: for closing the bathroom door, for helping out a sibling, for picking up their toys. They'll start to make an association between helping someone else and their own joy, and it will remind them that it really is the thought that counts.

Start a gratitude tradition: At breakfast or dinner (or whenever the fam gathers at the table) take turns going around the table and saying three to five things each person is really grateful for. It's okay if kids say their toys most of the time, eventually they will start to understand that gratitude goes deeper than just for material things.

Make being thankful fun: Start a gratitude journal, do something called the gratitude dance (hilarious!), or even make a scrapbook with your kids by cutting out words of gratitude and pictures that represent times they are grateful for.

If you want even more of MommyWisdom's well, wisdom, check out her blog BELIEVE, ACHIEVE, SUCCEED and join her group of the same name. I'm really grateful for the awesome welcome from you CM Big Kid moms, now tell me, what are you grateful for?


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