Thanksgiving is a perfect time to teach your preschooler about gratitude. Research has shown that thankful children and teenagers are more optimistic, more satisfied with their surroundings, give more emotional support to others – even have higher grades. Teaching gratitude as early as preschool age will set your child up for success in developing these skills.
Here are some tips to help your preschooler learn about gratitude and empathy.
- Model gratitude. Your preschooler looks to you for cues about how to behave. You can demonstrate gratitude to your preschooler by doing things like saying a simple thank you, having a discussion about the good things that happened during your day, or complimenting others.
- Encourage generous acts. Preschoolers love to help, so look for ways to encourage generous behavior. For example, you can explain that some kids don’t have toys, food, or clothes, and encourage your preschooler to think of some ways they could help.
- Say no from time to time. It can be easy for a preschooler to take their toys, snacks, or other wants for granted. Telling them no sometimes will show them that life doesn’t give endless rewards, and they can learn to be grateful for what they do have.
- Focus on experiences rather than objects. There is a lot of advertising aimed directly at children, which can cause preschoolers to put too much value on things. To balance this, focus on highlighting fun and meaningful experiences, like family mealtimes, or being able to see friends.
- Ask for help around the house. There are many age-appropriate chores a preschooler can do around the house. For example, they can put away their toys or help you to feed the family pet. Chores are a way for preschoolers to learn that things don’t always come easily, and they’ll begin to value how much work other people do.