Teaching Your Children To Choose Gratitude

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

By Erin Guerreri, OWG Mom’s Council

Gratitude is one of my favorite lessons to teach because it forces me to to raise the bar for my own behavior (children are always watching) and also because it’s one the kids tend to soak up quickly. I love using great picture books to introduce (and revisit) new topics, and one of my favorites is The Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton.

thanksbook

After we read the story as a family, we have a really basic and fun discussion about things and people for which we’re grateful. My husband and I model the sentences so the kids have a good starting point, and we’ll say things like “I’m really grateful for Grandma because she brought us dinner tonight” or “I’m really grateful for such beautiful leaf colors.” It usually doesn’t take long for the kids to pipe in. When we first did this last year, they expressed gratitude for things like raisins and trains. But, it didn’t take long before they were acknowledging gratitude for people and for things like amazing clouds.

In order to make acknowledging gratitude a way of life, we put notes into our gratitude basket and talk about them during dinner. Of course, life happens and we don’t always get to it, but I notice that the more we walk the talk, the more likely the kids are excited to jump in line – and we could all use a little more gratitude walking.thanks2

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