Saying Thank you to your Children

When you ask your child to do something, do you thank them when they do it? Do you openly express your gratitude towards your child?

Expressing gratitude is an important part of building positive relationships, and parents should often thank their children for their help, good behavior, or thoughtful actions. It can be a way for parents to model politeness and appreciation, and to show their children that their efforts are noticed and valued.

If we are to teach children to be happy, we must express thanks towards them and the wonderful things they do. Children are always watching and learning from us. By witnessing parental expressions of gratitude, children learn to do the same. Even moments as simple as receiving a hug from your child provide an opportunity to offer a heartfelt ‘THANK YOU.’. There isn’t much a child can do than open their emotional side and approach for a hug, so a simple thank you can confirm to them that you are truly grateful to them for their love.

In 2006, psychologists Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson analyzed parents’ descriptions of their children’s strengths — and found that gratitude had the strongest relationship to life satisfaction.

Grateful young adolescents (ages 11-13), compared to their less grateful counterparts, are happier and more optimistic, have better social support, are more satisfied with their school, family, community, friends, and themselves, and give more emotional support to others (2006 Evidence – The Greater Good study from Berkeley University). The study also found that grateful teens (ages 14-19) are more satisfied with their lives, use their strengths to better their community, are more engaged in their schoolwork and hobbies, have higher grades and are less envious, depressed, and materialistic.

You do not need to express gratitude for every single thing your children say or do throughout the day. However, take a moment to observe whether you express gratitude to your children at all. Consider incorporating it a few times daily and observe the positive responses your gratitude elicits.

Here are three ways you can start fostering more gratitude in your kids:

  1. Remember to say ‘Thank You’ to your children. Role modeling is a great way to teach gratitude and appreciation.
  2. Practising gratitude daily will form a great habit in life for kids. You can either get them a gratitude journal or start by sitting around a table and asking what they are grateful for today.
  3. Remember to be mindful when with your children. Teach them about savouring positive moments, simply by reminding them how special the moment is that you are enjoying together.

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