5 Tips for Raising Grateful Kids

How to foster thankfulness at the holidays

by Dr. Mark McKee

Parents work extremely hard in order to provide their children with opportunities for enrichment and experiences they hope will lead to their children’s success in life. However, there are generally few, if any, expectations of anything in return from their children (aside from a couple of household chores).  With Thanksgiving almost upon us, it is an ideal time for parents to help instill qualities of respect and gratitude in their kids.

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Here's how to put gratitude at the center of your family life.

1. Spend one-on-one time with your child(ren) each day focused on who they are, what they feel about things, THEIR perceptions of events in their lives and in the world, and their aspirations –NOT homework or discipline issues.  Demonstrate an appreciation for who they are and they in turn will learn to appreciate you and others.

2. Model good manners and appreciation of others you come into contact with on a daily basis—they will learn by example.

3. Provide opportunities for “service to others” so children can see firsthand the gifts they’ve been given when compared to those less fortunate.

4. Treat your children with the same respect afforded to other important people in your life—even when disciplining your child. "Manage" yourself so that you portray respect for your child.

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5. Accept your child’s efforts at showing their appreciation—too often parents tend to minimize, ignore, or even devalue a child’s “thank you.” Be sure to credit children for even the smallest expressions of gratitude (such as a scribble drawing), instead of casually dismissing their efforts with a flippant “you didn’t need to do that.)” 

Keep these simple tips in mind during the Thanksgiving season and beyond.  I guarantee that both you and your child will be thankful that you did. 

 

What ways have you fostered gratitude in your family?

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Dr. Mark McKee is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and author of Raising a Successful Child: The Manual. His private practice provides a range of psychological services for children, adolescents and their families, serving the Naperville, Illinois and Chicago-area suburbs since 1992. For more information, visit www.drmarkmckee.com

 

 

 

 

 

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