Children need to learn how to give and receive, and this learning begins in infancy. An infant gives a smile and receives an endearing flow of loving responses. Children learn early about the reciprocity of relationships. These relationships become embedded in the spirit of the child, and manifest themselves in their developing values and character. Raising children who embody gratitude does not begin with an activity of "doing" or gift giving; it is rooted in the empathetic relationships developed during infancy, which are carried on throughout life.

As children grow and develop, the ability to be grateful is reinforced by the little things that we as parents, teachers, and supportive adults model. How do we model thankfulness, gratitude, and empathy towards others? How do we help our children see the gifts of life in our everyday living? 

Simple things to do that facilitate gratitude:

  1. Model gratitude and thankfulness in your everyday life
  2. Volunteer with your children 
  3. Write thank you notes and have children draw thank you pictures
  4. Help children develop a vocabulary of thankful words..."I appreciate you placing your cup in the sink."
  5. Read books that represent thankfulness (The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Thankful Book by Todd Parr)


Post by Stephen P. Zwolak

Young Children and Halloween

Join Ms. Peaches on STL Moms to learn more about how Halloween is an opportunity for parents to help children grow. 

What can parents do to use Halloween as a tool?

  • Give children the choice of costume. Do you want to be Spiderman or Batman? Spiderman, why do you like Spiderman so much?
  • Help them understand that they are pretending to be the character. ”You are you even when you are wearing the mask but isn’t it fun to pretend to be Spiderman” This is where they learn true personal power and self-control.
  • Express safety concerns. Explain appropriate times to wear the mask. When we are crossing the street, you need to take your mask off.”
  • Be reflective. Am I hovering too much? Am I giving too much freedom? Each parent has their own comfort level.

The Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood published an article on Halloween and young children. Please take a moment to download and read Halloween: An Opportunity for Growth.

LUME Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program

The power to change society lies in transforming the way young children are taught. Children need highly developed and skillful educators that deeply understand children’s emotional development. Start your journey on LUME's Career Pathway today.  Join our movement and research based apprenticeship program. Here is what participants are saying: 

Through the Program, I not only gained in-depth knowledge about the growth and development of children, but I also learned a great deal about myself, and this self-reflection and awareness is critical when working in a classroom with children. I am grateful for the professional and personal advancement the LUME Apprenticeship Program has provided to me and hope that it can continue to impact others.
— Jessica Jones