Teaching Toddlers To Be Grateful
Something about the Holidays that makes most of us a little more cheerful and aware of everything we have to be grateful for. I also think it’s the best time to turn teaching toddlers to be grateful, up a notch. From simple Thank You’s to saying No more often, today I’m sharing some pointers on how we’re teaching our kids about being thankful for everything they have.
Say thank you to your children more often. By not only telling them to say it to others but also giving them thanks for the things they do, and hearing you say it to others, will teach them the real connection between their feelings and acknowledging when they feel gratitude. When we came home from Trick or Treating, Achilles who is 2 years old said, “Gracias Mami, gracias Papi, for trick or treating!” It was so unexpected and heartwarming to hear him be so appreciative about something that we never even considered we needed to be thanked for.
Another simple one. Good manners and gratitude overlap, so using words like please when asking for something helps them understand that it is not a just a given that things will be done for them or given to them. Teaching them to say please when they ask for milk, for example, is not only a lesson in good manners but also in thankfulness for the little every day things.
HAVE YOUR KIDS HELP
“Clean up time”. That’s what Achilles says when I ask him to help me clean up their toys or when he randomly starts doing it on his own and Jade who is only 15 months follows along and helps put the lego’s back in their basket and toys in their bin. It is seriously the cutest thing ever! And of course, once were done we do the high fives and I give them thanks for helping put the toys away so that they also feel appreciated for what they do.
One sure way to show your toddler to be grateful for everything they have is to not give them everything they want. It’s close to impossible for you to feel thankful if you typically get what you want, when you want it, so learning to sometimes say no to your kids when they start running for an Ice Cream truck will make the cone they get a yes for that much sweeter.
Our toddlers are still too small to volunteer or really set aside toys they can donate to other children but at the end of every season (I’m super behind right now because… motherhood!) we donate clothes that no longer fit them. Some pieces I save in case we are blessed with another baby, others we pass on to friends (the same way we have received so much of their clothing ourselves) and other stuff, with my moms help, I send to children in Dominican Republic and El Salvador.
Walking around with toddlers is an easy way to get random strangers to compliment your family or just smile at you all and say Hi. When either of them waves back and says Bye, most peoples faces light up I guess because it’s so unexpected for them to get an actual response from a child. I’m not telling you to teach your children to be comfortable with going up to strangers but yes to be polite, acknowledge them and just smile a little more. Smiles truly are contagious so why not help spread them.
I am by no means an expert in anything Mamihood and this is just what works for us so if you have any suggestions that you would add, drop them down below! It’s always nice to learn what works, and doesn’t work, for other parents.