Holidays like Thanksgiving offer a unique opportunity to pause, reflect and express gratitude for the people and blessings that enhance our lives. Gratitude isn’t a natural instinct; it must be taught to our little ones.
Research shows that gratitude is not just important to your family’s values, it also has health benefits. Benefits to children include less stress, better sleep, improved optimism, better relationships, less reported anxiety and depression.
How do caregivers help children show gratitude in their lives? A common phrase heard from parents to children is “What do you say?” when a “thank you” is expected. To help children better understand the reason behind that expected response, ask them, “How did that make you feel?” Having children put into words why they are expressing gratitude to someone will help them connect the words to emotions.
Here are some other ways families can help children show daily gratitude:
- Model gratitude aloud: Kids are always listening. Allow children to hear you express gratitude for the things you are thankful for in the present moment.
- Create a habit of serving others: There’s a wide range of options to help instill the value of kindness and community in children. Creating homeless kits, returning shopping carts, or cleaning up litter in the park are all wonderful ways to foster empathy and responsibility.
- Make a gratitude jar: All you need is a jar or container that would fit small, folded pieces of paper. Everyone can write down what they’re thankful for and watch the jar fill up. This is a great way for you and your children to visualize the big and small blessings in your lives.
Teaching your child to have a thankful heart and being able to express it is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Be a gratitude giver each day and watch your child lead with a thankful heart too!
- Dayton Holiday Festival: Friday, Nov. 24
- Pantry Partner Food Distribution: Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 3-5 p.m. at Dayton Metro Library
- Sensory Circus: Nov. 11 from 10-11 a.m. at Lebanon Public Library
- Prolink’s Light Up the Square: Friday, Nov. 24 from 6-9 p.m. at Fountain Square
Discovering our Quick Connections Videos for Families
Holiday shopping and celebrations are just around the corner and these will result in trips to the grocery store with your family. Did you know you can promote your child’s early learning and development while filling your cart at the store? Watch this 4C for Children Quick Connections video to find creative ways to promote math skills in your daily life.
Learn Through Play Daily Activities: November
Help children learn through play by using one of the following age-specific monthly calendars that feature daily activities.