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