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Showing children how to be thankful by being thankful

November 7, 2012
By Sue Junge , Times-Republican

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and I wanted to share some things that I am truly thankful for, and also give you some ideas on how to teach your child how to be thankful. We all want our children to understand what it truly means when they say "thank you", but it's not an easy job since many young children don't truly understand the concept of being thankful. They are taught that it's the polite thing to say when someone gives you something, but in the back of their mind they might be thinking "gee I wish I would have gotten more", not unusual for a child at all. Gratitude is one of the trickiest concepts to teach toddlers and preschoolers - who are by nature self-centered - but one of the most important. Sure, thankful children are more polite and pleasant to be around, but there's more to it than that. By learning gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills along the way. Grateful kids look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and other people do things for them - prepare dinner, dole out hugs, buy toys. On the flip side, kids who aren't taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed.



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