Parenting Tip: Teaching Gratitude

Training Kids to Say "Please" and "Thank You" Isn't Enough

Posted by Emily Oppelt on 9/7/2012 to Raising Genius Heads Kids
Teaching true gratitude is more of a process than just training kids to say the "magic words." I'm sure we've all had the experience where one kid's gift is smaller than her sibling's and you have to force a melancholy "thank you grandma" from her. Experts are saying that it's normal. For distractible, still-developing children (and that's pretty much all of them), gratitude can be hard-won. While many can be trained to say "please" and "thank you" beginning at about 18 months, true appreciativeness and generosity take time to seed and blossom.

"There's a difference between encouraging thankfulness in your kids and actually expecting it," says Claire Lerner, a child-development specialist at Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the healthy development of kids and families. "Raising a grateful child is an ongoing process."

Another expert agrees, stating that it might be nice to think your five-year-old appreciates what she gets but when she finally embodies the spirit of thankfulness, that's a true success story.

So, keep the focus on the long-term. Keep modeling gratitude and nudging the "pleases" and "thank yous" knowing that you'll see your efforts pay off in the long run.

Read expert tips by clicking here including making lists and how to respond when your child doesn't get the gift he wanted.

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