When family and friends gather around the table for Thanksgiving this year, many people honor the tradition of telling loved ones what they are most grateful for. Health, love, prosperity, Netflix, whatever the case may be, it can feel really great to pause and consider all the beauty in your life. All the reasons to feel thankful. Apparently this is not a thing parents believe their kids do. Feel grateful. And they would really like a little more of it from their offspring any day now.
A new poll conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Michigan found that a whopping 81% of parents wished their kids were more grateful. The national poll focused on parents of children between the ages of 4 and 10 years old. In fact, parents admitted that the approaching holiday season had them wanting to prioritize teaching gratitude to their kids. More than half of the parents who took part in the poll (58%) worry that they are giving their children too much, while nearly half of parents (42%) admitted they found themselves embarrassed when their kids acted selfishly.
Fortunately, almost every parent agreed that children can be taught gratitude, and perhaps with Thanksgiving around the corner, this could be the perfect time to get those lessons started.
Kids across the board are being taught to say “please” and “thank you,” according to the poll, but gratitude is about so much more than that. Sarah Clarke, co-director of the poll and research scientist at University of Michigan, told CNN that parents need to consider using actions instead of just words of gratitude to help their kids learn to be thankful. “My hope is a poll like this causes some parents to stop and think about, 'Are we being purposeful about teaching our kids how to be grateful?’”
Very Well Mind notes that gratitude is a skill that can be taught, and that children tend to be happier and more positive about their lives and the people in their community. Parents can teach gratitude skills by asking questions that help them notice and appreciate what they have, perform acts of kindness, and model grateful behavior themselves.
In other words, use this holiday season to get the gratitude ball rolling.
Your kids will thank you for it.