Why is Expressing Gratitude so Important for Young Children
Parents should teach their children manners at a young age so they understand the meaning of respect. One of the first things a baby learns is to wave bye-bye. Parents teach their children this gesture because it’s cute, but actually, there is more meaning to this gesture. We say goodbye and give our kids and relatives a hug and a kiss. This expresses that parents care for them and hope they have a safe return from their travels. The same reason parents teach their baby to wave bye-bye and give hugs. They are introducing the concept of caring and love for their family by using these gestures. By the age of 15 to 18 months, most toddlers can say the word thank you. This word is used to express happiness for help or a gift received by others. Young children understand more than parents realize by certain ages. When parents don’t teach their child to express gratitude, the child might start demanding help or things they need. This also can cause them social anxiety because they feel they can’t fit in.
Gratitude can also help children cope with stress and their emotional health. When you teach your children gratitude, this can be a humbling effect and will help your children with envy and self-esteem. Gratitude simply means everyone should feel thankful and appreciate the life that they have. Parents understand it’s a necessity to teach children these manners, but they don’t realize gratitude is actually an art. There is an art to teaching gratitude because gratitude is also a feeling.
Gratitude also helps children understand that someone did something nice for them even though they didn’t have to. This is important because this helps children understand their peers and adults emotional feelings a bit better.
Parents teach their children everything from brushing their teeth to doing their homework. Gratitude is another item on the agenda that is important. When you as a parent teach your children kindness and gratitude, this can make them a very special person in the eyes of others.
Parents still have to model this behavior. You can’t expect your child to say thank you when you don’t say thank you. If you made it home from work during a blizzard and are grateful, share this with your children. There are many things in life to be grateful about and even the small things count. A beautiful sunrise to a dreamy sunset is something to be grateful about.
When kids reach elementary school age, they have a deeper sense of thinking that they did a few years ago. Children should be asked how their day went and use details. Parents should encourage the use of depth with their thinking skills. If something went wrong at school, a parent wants to know. If your child received a 100% on their spelling test, and your child shares the accomplishment, it’s important for the parent to show gratitude.
Many families pray before meals and show gratitude to the higher entity that they believe in and praying teaches humility.
Gratitude can be one of the hardest works or art to teach a child. Face it, most toddlers by the age of two are only thinking about themselves. People love to be around children that show gratitude but the most important part of gratitude is becoming aware of others feelings. This is also another way to teach empathy and compassion to children by teaching them gratitude.
Children that get it and understand others feelings can be hurt, have stepped out of their own world, and realize if they didn’t have parents to care for them, who would do all the things they do and where would they be? It becomes a scary concept and therefore, children begin to realize parents do the things they do out of love and sacrifice. Then they finally can grasp the concept of being grateful.
Children that are taught gratitude tend to excel later on in life and understand kindness, empathy, and compassion. It’s hard for them to be around people that don’t give a hoot about anyone but themselves because these kids were not taught gratitude. Therefore, they will notice their peers are envious, have low self-esteem and are narcissistic.
Make certain that you constantly use the words please and thank you when your youngsters help you around the house. The more you say this, the more they will incorporate these words into their vocabulary. Thank them for affection and talk about the meaning of gratitude when you have a family night. Talk about the good things that happened during the day to encourage your children to express the same. Some families aren’t as lucky as your family to tell them how grateful you are that your children are all a part of your life.
Parents can always take their children out to help a neighbor in need or ask them to clean out their closets and take them with you to donate clothes to families in need. Kids become inspired by learning how to give and this type of gratitude helps build character in your child.
Teach your children how to send thank you cards if they received gifts or have them help you sign Christmas cards so they know how important a small card means to people on holidays or after they have given a gift. Even if your child just scribbles, a hand-scribbled card means a lot to grandma and grandpa and the rest of your friends and family.
It’s also important not to be afraid of saying no if you don’t agree with something they are doing. When you suddenly decide to say yes to something, then you will be bombarded by gratitude and smiles, hugs and kisses.
Remember to be patient, gratitude doesn’t happen overnight and small children can be stubborn when it comes to saying thank you. Eventually, they will get the idea and you will be happily surprised when it happens.
When it comes to the holidays and your kids have too many toys on their lists to Santa, limit the amount that you give them. Stay within your budget and get them the item they want the most. They will still be grateful for what they received if you don’t put emphasis on gifts as much as the celebration of the family being together. Homemade gifts are just as awesome as a gift that is bought. A homemade gift comes from the heart so encourage your children to use their talents to show their kindness and joy during the holidays.