Thanksgiving is a time of year when we all need to take a moment to reflect on life’s blessings and give thanks. But in this day and age, when so many children have far more than what they need, how can you teach your children to be thankful?
According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “It’s important to remember that a sense of gratitude doesn’t come naturally. We need to help children develop this important quality and remember that our day-to-day actions speak louder than our words.
“It is critical to serve as a positive role model for your children when working to instill a sense of gratitude in them. If you take everything for granted, your children are bound to as well. Likewise, if you show appreciation, they too will learn to be thankful for the little things in life.”
Stern says that there are several things you can do in your home, your neighborhood, and your community that can make a difference in the way your children see the world.
According to Stern, “As soon as your children begin to speak, you should be encouraging them to say please and thank you.”
She also says that you should take time every day to show gratitude to your children. Thank them for helping you. Show appreciation for good behavior, and recognize when they put forth extra effort. Soon you will have your children trying harder to please you and feeling better about themselves in the process.
Finally, Stern says that it’s important to celebrate special days in your family’s life from birthdays and anniversaries to Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.
“All these occasions are the perfect way to take time out from our hectic lives to let others know how thankful we are to have them in our lives and why they are so special to us.”
In Your Neighborhood
Stern suggests that when a new family moves into your neighborhood, you and your children bake them a treat, and then go over as a family to introduce yourselves. This teaches your children how to be good neighbors and 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 thankful for,” says Stern.
In Your City
Stern suggests that families identify one local nonprofit organization that helps those less fortunate to support each year. This could include a homeless shelter, an elderly care facility, or a local food bank. Then, as a family, make it a goal to do something positive for this organization each season.
“Donate the clothes and toys you’ve outgrown, bake treats for the people from this organization, or stop by to visit with these people to show your children first-hand how lucky they are to live the life your family lives. It will be a rewarding experience for your entire family that will instill a real sense of gratitude in your children for years to come.”
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.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Greenfield, Oak Creek, and 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 https://www.ebenezerchildcare.com/.