How to raise thankful toddlers? “Please”, “Sorry”, and “Thank you” for starters are 3 of the most important conversational words/phrases even a well-rounded adult must have in his/her vocabulary, and this starts from when they are young.
The habit of saying “thank you” is one of the first things parents teach their children because being grateful helps them cultivate empathy and consequently better relationships, and here are some tips to help in how to raise thankful toddlers;
Lead by example.
Show your kids what gratitude means by saying a genuine “thank you” to people who service you, work with you, your partner, neighbours, and even your kids when they do something for you or when they do little chores around the house such as packing away their toys, joining you to do dishes etc.
Talk to them.
There are kids who, despite leading by example, are not in touch with the gratitude part of themselves and have to be spoken to in order to put the act of it in perspective for them. So, sit with them and ask how they feel when you say “thank you” for the things they do and how important it is to appreciate people for what they do. Try to break it down in the simplest of terms so they can have an understanding of it. Encourage them to think of the people who help them on a daily basis, such as teachers, school bus drivers, the lady in the school cafeteria, school cleaner etc, and how saying “thank you” to these people can mean to them.
Make it a prayer.
If you are running a religious household, it can help to incorporate thanksgiving as a major part of prayer time. This will help them understand what it means to be grateful for the things they have and the things which are freely provided for them by their parents and can trickle down to their everyday lives and appreciating people for what they do for them.
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Encourage them to take action.
Kids have one interest or the other that goes beyond schoolwork and cartoon. As their parents, you can encourage them to take these interests a step further by turning it into something actionable to benefit others besides themselves. An example is a child that loves to help bake, he/she can be encouraged to bake something for a charity to help other people.
Expose them to the concept of lack
This involves talking to your children about the less privileged. You don’t not necessarily have to be graphic or scare them but let them understand that there are people out there who do not have the advantages and/or privileges that they do.
In all of this, please keep in mind that children sometimes have a way of saying “thank you” which might not fit your way of expressing thanks. Be sure to keep this in mind as you instil the social value of saying “thank you” in them.
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