Why bother to show appreciation? Why bother to show you are grateful for something?
One study found that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by the age of 5. This means that instilling gratitude in your children at a young age could help them grow up to be happier people. It has also been found that grateful adults are happier and more hopeful!
As a starting point, encourage your child to say “Thank you” on a regular basis. Offer gentle reminders like, “Your brother let you go first. What should you say to him?” or “What do you say to nan for giving you a biscuit?”
While it may seem like forcing a ”thank you” doesn’t stir up any real gratitude, consider it a first step in the process. It can help children start to recognise when others have given them something, whether it’s something tangible like a gift, or intangible like time. You can also encourage your children to write “thank you” notes to people who give them gifts or show them kindness. Your child might colour a picture for a grandparent who purchased a birthday gift for them.
Make sure to point out times when your child shows gratitude without a prompt from you. Praise prosocial behaviour by saying things like, “I really like the way you thanked your friend for sharing with you today,” or “Nice job remembering to say ‘thank you’ to your teacher when she reminded you to get your backpack.” Positive attention will reinforce the importance of showing gratitude.
We will be encouraging children to show their gratitude and appreciation all through this month as part of the five ways to wellbeing and let's grow our children into happy individuals.