By: Brenda Nixon
Among the early words you teach your tot are "thank you." Young
children need prompts like, "What do you say to Aunt Becky?" Hopefully,
over time, it becomes an automatic response. But parents need to
continue teaching an attitude of thanks even to teenagers. As you
celebrate the busy holiday season, utilize every moment as an
opportunity to nurture thankfulness in your child. Incorporate these
free and simple ways into your family life:
Live the Lesson
has been said that we're always teaching; sometimes we use words.
Remember to say "thank you" to others, but more importantly, live a
life of appreciation. Your children are watching their first and most
your child to appreciate the inspiration that surrounds him. Marvel at
the power of the wind, the immensity of the ocean, the perfection of a
snowflake, the night sky, or the rugged beauty of a mountain range.
I've reminded my girls of the saying of Goethe, "Nature is the living,
visible garment of God."
Convert Attitude into Action
small gesture, such as a smile, can lighten the day of the waitress who
hands your child a glass of milk or a hug for the teacher is always
welcome. When a child empties the dishwasher, it is an action of
appreciation for home and food. Thankfulness is also expressed through
homemade cards and drawings. To appreciate their classroom teachers, my
girls and I always made little gifts for them at the holidays.
Discover Dictionary Descriptions
we have our own terms to explain thankfulness, it helps to see new
definitions. Go to the library and see what a variety of dictionaries
say about the word. I like what The Webster's Dictionary
"Impressed with a sense of kindness received," because it takes the
focus off a material possession and puts it on an attitude.
researching for this article, I found websites that offer all types of
quotes. A humorous one about thanks comes from Woody Allen, "I am
thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."
Contrast Your Family with Folks Less Fortunate
your child see that there are those in your community who aren't as
blessed: families without homes, people who are sad and living alone,
or those who must go to food kitchens to eat. When my daughters were
young, one of our family traditions was to serve a meal to the
homeless. My husband, two daughters, and I spent one evening at a
rescue mission every Autumn. After seeing the faces of those accepting
a plate of food and their expressions of thanks, my daughters quickly
appreciated going back home to their safe, cozy bedrooms.
Make a Medley of Thankfulness
a pile of old magazines. Encourage your child to look through the pages
and cut out pictures of things for which they are thankful. Glue these
on one page, overlapping pictures. Soon your child will have a visual
reminder of the blessings in his life.
Pen a Poem of Thankfulness
with your child, try to write words that rhyme with thanks, gratitude
or thankful. This can be a fun, language learning time also.
Practice Gratitude Permanently
thanks and appreciation need not end with this time of year. I believe
letter writing is becoming a lost art. Help your child write thank you
notes for their Christmas gifts. Preschoolers can dictate to you their
gratitude or express thanks by drawing a picture of their appreciation
for their gift-giver. Find opportunities during this upcoming year to
reinforce your lesson. For more ideas on teaching children about good
manners and attitudes go to mannersoftheheart.com
a parent, I hope my children learn to be thankful by the way I live my
life before them. After all, as William Bennett said in his book, The Moral Compass: Stories for a Life's Journey
, "Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is indeed a virtue."
As a parenting speaker, educator, and
author Brenda Nixon desires to build stronger families through parent
empowerment. For free tips, articles, her books, tapes, and speaking
topics go to brendanixon.com
*Article reprinted with permission from the author Brenda Nixon
Labels: Parenting, Thanksgiving