Parents work hard to instill good character in their children. They desire for their kids to be kind, generous, grateful and helpful. The manner in which you interact and communicate with your children has a significant impact on their character. Today let’s look at how to encourage gratitude as a parent.
Parenting Strategies that encourage gratitude
There are many tools and techniques available for parents to use with their children. It has been found that positive, peaceful/gentle parenting strategies are most effective in building long term relationships and strong bonds. Parenting that focuses on connection and respect meets a child’s deepest need for unconditional love.
Be the example you want for your children. They will copy what you do and say, how you respond to others and how you react. Focus on setting a good example. Be sure to thank your children when they have done something kind. Show gratitude to others when you are out in public (for example when someone opens a door for you, or thanking a cashier).
Teach children what to do
Take time to train and teach your children how to be polite and have good manners. Also go over how to respond gracefully to gifts they receive. Remind them of how much thought was put into the giving (even if they may not particularly love the gift).
Words of affirmation
Speak well of your children, especially when they can hear you. Compliments and affirmations help them to feel loved and appreciated. A child who feels secure and loved will show that same kindness to others.
Most children want to have some control in their lives. This is especially true for strong willed children. When you give your child choice (even from a limited selection) you are showing that you value their opinions and trust their decisions. Children feel grateful and confident rather than frustrated and controlled.
Hugs and physical affection
When we hug a child, or show physical affection for our children it helps to strengthen the bond in the relationship. You are modeling how to show love. Give them a smile that lights up when you see them! They will model that same love and affection to others.
Many children respond well to having special time with you. Put down the phone and build in regular time in your week to spend time with each child. Let your child choose the activity often. Take one child with you on errands when you can. And take an interest in their hobbies. It really means a lot to your children when you value what they are interested in and are present with them.
Building in regular time to meet as a family is important. You can use this time to work through any problems that arise and teach your children how to problem solve. I encourage you to start your meetings with showing appreciation to each other and end your meeting with doing something fun together.
Connection before correction
While it is important to guide and correct our children, parents sometimes get so focused on behavior that they miss an opportunity to connect with their children. Kids know when they do something wrong. What they need is to know how much you love them, even when they mess up.
In the Bible it says “We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19. The same is true for our children. They will love others when they feel loved. Give them a reason to be grateful and appreciative. Your relationship is so important
Activities for children to learn thankfulness and gratitude
There are many activities you can incorporate into your day that actively gets your child thinking of things to be thankful for.
- Share what you are thankful for around the dinner table
- Add gratitude to your bedtime routine and share about what brought you joy that day
- Start a joy/gratitude journal
- When you are upset, frustrated you can change your mindset and thinking patterns by talking about what you are thankful for.
- Show appreciation towards other family members with written notes
- Participate in a local service project
Choose activities that will flow naturally into your day and see how choosing to be grateful adds more joy to your family.
Bible verses on gratitude and thankfulness
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
When we focus on what we are thankful for it shifts our attention on the giver of those good gifts. Not only can we overcome worry and anxiety, but frustration and anger too. Gratitude and thanksgiving flow from a heart that is full of love. As parents we have the incredible blessing of demonstrating God’s love to our children.
You can get the Joy Journal by leaving your name & email. This journal is an easy way on how to encourage gratitude in your children.
Meaghan Jackson is a gentle parenting coach and host of The Parenting Coach Podcast. She has taken her passion for bringing peaceful calm to family life and pairs that with her background in education to help parents become more confident and well equipped. Meaghan has both a Bachelor of Education and Engineering along with several years of teaching experience at a private school. Since having children she has homeschooled her three boys and is an advocate for the homeschool community, organizing events and leading classes. As a successful business owner and entrepreneur, Meaghan understands the difficulties that many parents go through trying to juggle it all. Her family struggles and transformation is what led Meaghan to become a parenting coach because she desires for others to rediscover the joy in parenting. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and in her Community Group