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Teaching An Attitude Of Gratitude
by Stephen A. Peterson 
02/20/13
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Teaching An Attitude Of Gratitude
©2013

by

Stephen A. Peterson


Whether a child is six or sixteen it is vitally important parents/caregivers teach the principle of gratitude. Teaching a child an attitude of gratitude has several benefits that cannot be overlooked.

First, it relays a message to the child’s benefactor that the child appreciates their gift; that the gift is accepted; and that there is not a sense of entitlement.

Second, it teaches a child the means of expressing themselves. No matter what tool a child uses to indicate “thankfulness,” parents/caregivers should recognize that young children are generally good at expressing themselves.

Some of the most precious thank you cards or notes received are the handmade cards created by a child from construction or bond paper. With a little bit of parental/caregiver encouragement, sending a child created card or note often brightens the receiver’s day!

At a time when cyber space technology abounds, it is appropriate if a child expresses their thanks utilizing e-mails or to text message. As cyber space technology continues to grow as well as expansion of greeting card sites, parents/caregivers are cautioned to monitor the information their youngster posts on them. The most unsavory among us use cyber space to collect, use and abuse personal information in some of the most insidious ways. Many of the e-card sites are advertised as free. They are not often times. Some sites are not secured so that when credit or debit card information is submitted, it has a chance being compromised and abused in an ever growing number of ways.

In an effort to teach child gratitude, parents/caregivers might consider their child’s attention span. At the conclusion of a holiday such as Christmas or an event such as a birthday party, there are usually many thank you cards or notes that are to be sent out. The younger the child the less likely he or she will be able to complete a project lasting more than then or fifteen minutes in the process of writing thank you cards or notes for a five or six year old child.

For a child just learning how to write, it is okay for parents/caregivers to let them draw pictures and for them to dictate to you what they want to say. At the end of the card or note it is appropriate to write “with the assistance of mom, dad, auntie, uncle and so forth.” Pre-school and elementary age children, helping to address envelopes is appropriate. One of the best ways to help without interfering with the child oriented activity is by splitting responsibilities. The child stamps the envelopes if they are unable to print or write and the adult address the letter.

Ideally, expressions of thanks are recommended they be completed within a within a month after a gift is received. However, if it takes a month or three, few will express negative feedback from a thank you card or note from a grateful child. There is no expiration date on expression of gratitude coming from a child.


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