Teaching Your Children Gratitude

“Dad, get me some milk!” What in the world? When did I become a slave to my child? I mean, it makes sense since the first while of their life you really are doing everything for them. After a few days of dealing with my child doing this, I realized it’s time for my child to learn gratitude.

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. How are you supposed to teach a child to do this very thing? The first thing that came to my mind was, teach by example.

How many times are you telling people thank you? Personally, I am the worst at it. The other day at work I was helping a friend because I really didn’t have anything else to do. After helping, the woman was super grateful and kept telling me thank you. Instead of a simple, “you’re welcome” I would come up with an excuse for why I helped.

It’s hard for me just to say you’re welcome and I don’t know why. Always I will come up with an excuse or have to reply with a response. Another friend told me thanks for being so fun to be a around. Again, instead of just saying thanks I laugh it off and say well, thanks—but why? Why don’t I just say thank you.

Maybe this is why my kid has a hard time saying you’re welcome. Every day I give my son something I make sure he replies with thank you. But at the same time, I do what I can to say thank you when he gives me something. As I become an example to him of being grateful and showing gratitude he will learn this trait as well.

It’s a constant struggle though. I just figure I don’t want to tell my kids, “Do what I say and not as I do.” I want to have it be do as I’m doing. Their little eyes are always watching and its crazy how quickly they catch on to what you do and say.

At the end of the day, I want to have grateful children that are known for showing gratitude because they genuinely mean it. I am truly grateful for them and hope that I too can show them and all those around me genuine gratitude.