November’s Parenting Tip: Raising Grateful Children

Thanksgiving is a good time of year to take a moment to reflect on life’s blessings and give thanks. We would all like to have children who appreciate what they have and show generosity toward others. What can we do to encourage an attitude of gratitude in children?

According to Dana Brumm, Curriculum Specialist for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations on Milwaukee’s Southside and in Downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “It’s important to remember that a sense of gratitude doesn’t come naturally. However, gratitude can be taught, and modeling is one of the best ways. It is critical to serve as a positive role model for your children when working to instill a sense of gratitude in them.”

Brumm says that there are several things you can do in your home, your neighborhood, and your community to help children understand how much they have to be thankful for in their lives.

At Home
According to Brumm, “Express gratitude, children are very sensitive to our reactions.” When you receive a gift from your children, whether it is a piece of a cookie or an awkward looking napkin holder with pieces falling off, thank your children profusely. How you react to your children’s acts of kindness impacts development around gratitude.

Brumm says that it’s important to say thank you yourself. “Thank your children when they help you. Let them see you thanking others, such as the clerk at the grocery store or the person who cuts your grass.” These occasions are the perfect way to model gratitude and let others know how grateful we are for their service in our lives.”

In Your Neighborhood

Brumm suggests engaging your family in projects that help others. Have your children help others by delivering food to a sick or grieving neighbor. Or, make a card for a friend in the hospital. When children’s actions are received with gratitude, they often want to do more. This teaches your children how to be caring individuals.

Another great idea is to have your family help someone in your neighborhood who is
elderly, injured, or handicapped and needs some assistance with lawn care or household projects. “Taking the time to do a few random acts of kindness with your children goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression about all that we have to be grateful for,” says Brumm. 

In Your Community
Brumm suggests collecting clothing or personal items and donating them to a local shelter for the homeless. “It will be a rewarding experience for your entire family which will instill a real sense of gratitude in your children for years to come.” Look for ways to encourage gratefulness and thankfulness that fit with your family’s style and values.

Finally, Brumm says, “Make toys, games, or crafts for a child care center or pediatric unit of a hospital. In doing so, your children will begin to realize how fortunate they are for all the good things they have in their lives.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured
curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.