I get it, life is hectic and we've got a million things on our to do list. Most of us barely have time to reply to emails, let alone sit down with our kids to write a thank you card but the simple act of doing this will not only have an impact on the recipient but your child as well. Children who are grateful tend to do better in school, complain less and are generally more satisfied with their life. It also teaches them empathy and compassion.
While it's nice to receive a thank you sentiment whether verbally or in written form, the giver should never expect it in return for something done out of kindness. However, it sure makes a difference when gratitude is shown. We've always made sure to teach our baby girl to sign or say thank you when someone shows her kindness. And writing thank you cards, though she may not understand it completely at this stage, is something we feel is important to get her in the habit of doing regardless of how old she is. It is never too early to teach your child about generosity and appreciating the kindness of others.
While there are many ways to help children live a life of gratitude, I am just going to touch on sending handwritten thank you notes in this post. At this age, our 2 year old obviously can't write the note herself but she does sign her name with some help and adds her own little touch whether that be applying stickers, making a mark with a rubber stamp, tracing her hand (one of her favs), and/or coloring on the card. We also take the time to explain to her when she's signing each card who it is for and what we're thanking them for so it's not just another piece of paper she is doodling on. If it is a tangible gift, we take it out as a visual reminder and say, for example, "We are thanking grandma and grandpa for these books with this thank you card." When possible, we have her hand deliver the cards so she understands what happens to them after it's signed and sealed and, of course, it makes it a little more special for the recipient.
Albeit it takes a bit of time on our part as parents to do all this, it is one of the best gifts you can give your child. By setting good habits and role modeling appreciativeness towards others, you not only help them cultivate an attitude of gratitude but they will begin to see what a blessing it is to those on the receiving end.
What are some ways you teach your child(ren) to show gratitude in their daily lives?
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