Teaching Children Gratitude

Christy Anderson from Fun Properly Done shows how to help kids learn that skill.

Think Grateful. Act Gracious.

FunProperlyDone.com is all about good manners, and a big part of basic etiquette is being thankful. Just thinking about what you’re grateful for is a good step, but it’s even better to act on it. That’s why we take the motto, Think Grateful. Act Gracious.

Kids don’t need a lot of help knowing what makes them happy, but they often need guidance recognizing that their happiness comes from someone or something. An excellent exercise at Thanksgiving time—and year round—is to keep a gratitude journal, make a “thankful list,” or even like one family, have Thankful Thursdays on which every family member points out a blessing.

But, no one knows that you’re thankful for them or something they do if you don’t say it! And that’s where Act Gracious comes in.

Act Gracious at Thanksgiving

During Thanksgiving Day itself, kids can show what they appreciate in the people around them. Our Baskets of Thanks cornucopia can be used as a place card, or just a “thank you for coming” favor. Write things you appreciate about a person on the back of each vegetable, and fill the cornucopia with thoughts of gratitude.

Act Gracious Every Day

Teach kids to write a thank you note to someone who aligns with their thankful list. Maybe it’s a teacher who gave extra minutes at recess. Maybe it’s the author of a favorite book. The cookie baker at the grocery store. The school crossing guard. A coach, music teacher, or a scout leader.

With a little help, kids begin to realize there is a real person behind everyone and everything they enjoy during their days. FunProperlyDone.com has a selection of blank thank you cards you can keep on hand for any occasion. Write a note a week during November to create a habit—and a practice—of showing gratitude.

Act Gracious as a Habit

The best lesson, of course, is to be an example of gratitude every day. Parents can do this by simply saying “thank you” to a clerk at the store, and by recognizing the small services people do in their everyday jobs. Another lesson is to say why you’re leaving a tip at a restaurant; giving a specific reason is a good lesson for your child—and a great note for a waiter to receive.

Since Thanksgiving Dinner is a special meal in and of itself, it’s perfectly suited for teaching good manners beyond “thank you.” It’s the ideal opportunity to teach kids about how to politely greet guests, use proper place settings, put a napkin on their laps, hold out a chair for someone, etc.

The Etiquette Party invitation at FunProperlyDone.com helps make it a formal affair. But even if you don’t use etiquette as a theme, use the opportunity for kids to practice their best manners. And when you see them do it, Think Grateful and Act Gracious yourself! Award the good-mannered one with an Etiquette sticker you can find at FunProperlyDone.com. They’re a fun way to reward family members of any age for saying their pleases and thank you’s.

You can find all of the Thanksgiving and thanks-sharing products here at www.funproperlydone.com. Plus, read more ideas to Think Grateful, Act Gracious at our blog, www.funproperlydone.blogspot.com.

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