Preschoolers will imitate those around them; therefore, it is important to model thankfulness for them. Modeling thankfulness might come naturally for some parents, but for others, it might take more intentional work. Here are a few of the ways you could model thankfulness.
Watch your words
One of the most basic ways to model thankfulness for your preschooler is to watch your words. Do you find yourself saying “thank you” often, or does it slip your mind? Being polite and saying “thank you” can go a long way in modeling thankfulness. She is listening and watching to see how you interact with others, speak about them, and also treat them. Be respectful in how you speak to and about others. Also be sure to include your manners when interacting with others.
You can model thankfulness for your preschooler by having a gratitude jar. A gratitude jar is a jar that you fill with slips of paper noting what you are thankful for. Involve your preschooler by writing down things that he is thankful for as well. At the end of the month, you can sit down as a family and read what you were thankful for during the month. You can select your favorite memories and place them into another jar to be read at the end of the year. Using a gratitude jar is a visual way to model thankfulness.
Notes of appreciation
Another way to model thankfulness is to write notes of appreciation to others. Our words can encourage or discourage. It only takes a few minutes to sit down and craft words of encouragement and appreciation to others. Include your preschooler by allowing her to help select who might need a note and also by contributing what to include in the note. Family members, teachers, nurses, and clergy are just a few examples of people who can always use a boost of encouragement.
Just as bad habits are contagious, so are good habits. Make thankfulness contagious! Your preschooler may quickly pick up thankfulness if you take the time to model it. This will help him gain an important skill that will provide many benefits (social, physical, mental, etc.) throughout life.
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