At Children of Tomorrow, our educational focus not only teaches children early childhood concepts like shapes, colors and letters, but we believe that in order to support the whole child in becoming well-rounded members of our communities we must teach gratitude and kindness in our daily routines.
November is here and with that comes the month of showing gratitude and kindness. Not only is this a great reminder for ourselves, but also for our children. Children are constantly observing the actions and listening to the words around them. What an incredible time to infuse our everyday routines with gratitude and kindness that children can learn to emulate.
Here are some ways to show and teach gratitude and kindness:
Start with Teaching Manners
Manners are really the first place we should start. Once children have learned please and thank you, we can move onto some deeper concepts.
• Manners show that we don’t feel we are just entitled to things, just because.
• Encourage pleases and thank yous every day.
• Offer gentle reminders where needed.
• And remember, kids want our approval. So noticing when they do nice things can go a long way. “I really liked the way you said thank you earlier.” Positive attention always wins out.
Make Kindness Automatic
• Kindness is free. So spread that super magic dust everywhere!
• There are so many ways to be kind: Remind them of these things… you can simply give compliments, share things, and help someone in need, pick up garbage, visit a friend, volunteer, and donate something.
• “Kindness is something that you CAN teach and it starts as young as 12 months with the kindness and respect that you model to children.…,” from the National Association for Young Children (an excellent resource for families and our programs as they encourage and set our standards of education).
Teach Gratitude & Kindness with Actions
This list of ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in children from Shannon Lambert of the Big Life Journal may offer some more inspiration and action:
1. Say please and thank you. Our manners show that we do not believe we are entitled to anything, and that in fact, we appreciate whatever comes our way.
2. Help someone less fortunate. This could be your neighbor down the street, grandma, or someone you know who is in a tough spot.
3. Volunteer. Help out at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or non-profit.
4. Send out thank you cards. Express your gratitude for those who have added value to your life.
5. Look for awe-inspiring moments in your day. If the sunset is particularly beautiful, comment on it. If the sound of the baby’s laughter warms your heart, tell your children. Encourage them to look for their awe-inspiring moments and share them with you.
6. Share your gratitude at bedtime. Take five minutes at the end of the day to ask your child what he is thankful for that day.
7. Share your gratitude at the dinner table. Take a moment at dinner time to share what you are thankful for. Go around the table, allowing each family member a chance to vocalize their gratitude.
8. Compliment others. Encourage your children to do the same. Share the things you appreciate about another person.
9. Keep a gratitude journal. This can be in any form that works best for your child’s age, skill level and desire. Some kids will want to spend time writing their thoughts down. Others may be more apt to express their gratitude through drawing or painting.
10. Write a letter. Encourage your child to write a letter to someone who has touched his life in some way. If he is comfortable, make a visit to that person to read the letter out loud. If not, mail it.
As we come into the final months of 2020, let’s continue to be kind, to focus on the good and re-energize ourselves and children with an attitude of gratitude. We hope these resources are helpful and fill your family time with love, laughter, and learning as they fill our hallways with the same. Thank you for being a constant support for us at Children of Tomorrow. We are grateful for families like you!