My family has so much to be thankful for these days. We are all mostly healthy, we have so much love to share that it becomes overwhelming at times, and my boy wakes up every morning with a smile on his face!!
As with most families, we've been through our tough times, but through it all we have always tried to keep thankfulness as a center theme in our family. Why is it, though, with all the things that children pick up on and repeat what they hear, that "Thank You" is such a tough concept?!!
My son is an only child and spoiled beyond belief. When Hubby and I met, we were in our thirties and I think we both had given up on finding a "love of my life" and maybe given up on having children. When we found out we were pregnant, it was a huge surprise and very welcomed!! When we moved near my dad and stepmom, they were thrilled because their older two grandchildren grew up three hours away and they were excited to be able to see our boy grow up so close. My younger sister LOVES her niece and nephews so of course she was thrilled to be so close to our boy as well. So, he has become accustomed to getting "prizes" on a regular basis!!
We didn't want him to become a child who was not grateful for the things he has or the gifts he is given so we started early teaching him (at least) to say "Thank You". One of the best tips I ever read from a parenting book about teaching thankfulness is to always say "Thank You" and overemphasize thankfulness around your child and they will pick up on it. Anytime Hubby would bring me something I would say "Thank You, Daddy". If Hubby needed something he would say "Please Mommy". The Boy picked up on it a little, but it is a constant struggle, even at almost 4 years old.
Here are some tips I have pick up along the way to help teach thankfulness:
- Children love time and attention. When a child does something thoughtful, reward him with his favorite activity rather than a "prize". My boy particularly loves it when we go in his play room with him and play trains or cars or just read books to him.
- Praise your child for thoughtful acts. My boy loves to put money in the machine for Children's Miracle Network because he thinks it's a game. We have explained to him that it is for other boys and girls who are sick. A while back he had quite a few pennies in his pocket at the store and he wanted to buy a cinnamon roll. When he saw the machine, he decided that he wanted to help the other boys and girls and put all his pennies in. We praised him so much and he was so proud!
- Let your child know that you expect good behavior. We have a tendency to tell our boy that if he behaves at a restaurant that he will get a prize. What he needs to know is that he is expected to behave and that anything outside of that is unacceptable. This way he is more thankful when he does receive a gift and doesn't expect them for everything he does.
- Model for your child or Practice what you preach. Show thankfulness by volunteering in your community. Talk to your child about why you are volunteering and find activities for him to volunteer as well. Now that Christmas is coming we have been talking to our boy about cleaning out his toys. Instead of telling him that we are selling them for more money, we are telling him that other boys and girls don't have toys and he needs to think about giving some away. (As an aside, I tried this one Saturday and I had to stop because he was totally giving away all his good toys. I guess he is a little more giving than me!!)
- Show thankfulness through prayer. This is the one that has had the most impact on our boy. When we pray at night and ask him what he will thank God for, he always has the longest list from thanking God for Granny and Papa and B and Mommy and Daddy to thanking God for his socks and his Spiderman shoes!!
Thankfulness is a concept that can be difficult to teach at times. It is more of a modeling and teaching through your actions type of concept. You'll know that your child "gets" it some day because they will do something out of the ordinary and your heart will go warm.
My nephew was about 5 years old when we just knew. Granny had bought him a barrel of monkeys and they were in a yellow can. We all would watch the children open presents so all eyes were on him when he opened them. He only looked for one second when he grabbed it up and hugged it and said, "My very own MUSTARD!!!"
Now that's thankfulness…
Janet is the author of the blog GoingCrazy!!WannaGo??!!. She has been blogging since August 2, 2011 and has been trying to find her niche ever since. Janet is a Child Safety Specialist in Texas and has a passion for protecting children, but when she started her blog about Child Safety, it quickly started changing into a creature of it's own. GoingCrazy!!WannaGo??!! now features a Newbie Blog Hop with a weekly Featured Newbie Blogger, Fatty Friday where Janet talks about her weight loss journey, lots of Giveaway Events, and Janet loves to follow memes so you can always find a story about her life.
Thank you for sharing...