Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Written By: Breanna Cordeiro
Oh the toddler years. The time of your child’s life where they have non stop energy, they are curious about everything and their favourite phrases are “That’s mine” and “No”. It’s a period in their lives where they pick up everything and are learning new skills every single day. From learning, problem-solving and building their fine motor skills to starting to know their letters and numbers the list could go on. There is one skill I think most parents tend to overlook that is so important to learn at this age and that’s gratitude. Gratitude is a skill, it’s something that needs to be taught and instilled at a very young age. Gratitude and kindness go hand in hand. If a toddler learns how to be thankful they will be considerate and friendly as well. Teaching your toddler gratitude definitely won’t happen overnight. It will take time and patience. But don’t be discouraged. It’s not as daunting as it seems. From my experience so far it’s been a lot of fun and has taught me a lot along the way. Here are 3 ways to teach your toddler gratitude.
Pick a special day of the week to do something for others.
Recently in our household we have made Wednesday’s “Ways to give back Wednesday”. My toddler knows that on Wednesdays we do something for others that “makes someone’s heart happy”. We have baked cookies for the local firemen, cleaned out the toy box and given all the baby toys to a baby who could use them, coloured a picture attaching a thank you card and given it to people in our lives who we are thankful for. These acts don’t have to be grand, expensive or take a lot of time out of your day to do. Teaching your toddler that it’s the thought that counts helps them understand that.
Practice what you are preaching.
In our toddlers eye everything we do is extraordinary and they want to be just like us. I can’t tell you the amount of times my 2 year old son, Aaron, tells people that I’m his best friend. They want to do everything we do and are learning how to act by copying our own behaviours. This is why I’m so cautious with how I express gratitude. I make an extra effort now to make sure I am saying my please and thank you, I talk more about what I am thankful for and I give out compliments when it’s due.
Make gratitude apart of your bedtime routine.
When bath is done, pyjamas are on and our nightly book is read my son and I always say a prayer before bed. And it goes like this: Thank you for another great day. Thank you for our friends and family. Thank you for our food. Thank you for…. And at the end of the day my son will say what he is thankful for that day. It is really quite amusing to hear some of the stuff he will say he is thankful for. He’s been thankful for the fire trucks on his socks, mommy zipping up his coat and even said he was thankful for the librarian because she sang his favourite song at story time.
Teaching your toddler the attitude of gratitude is an important part of their development. Studies have shown that anyone who practices gratitude are more likely to be happier, healthier and feel more fulfilled in their lives. I hope these tips can help inspire you to start adding gratitude to be apart of your daily routine.