Teaching toddlers to show gratitude doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 10 ideas how you can serve together and #LIGHTtheWORLD
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Something I love about the holiday season is that it gives me an opportunity to teach my children about special, important things we wouldn’t normally talk about. In November, we have been talking about gratitude and how we can serve others to show them we are grateful for what they do for us. We have also talked about all of our blessings we can be grateful for, like our family, our friends, our home, our clothes, and our toys. And now with Christmas only a month away, we have started turning our focus to Christ.
During Christmas, we are reminded that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. This year, we are joining the Mormon.org #LIGHTtheWORLD Christmas campaign and resolving to share that light by doing things Jesus Christ did. The Mormon.org campaign focuses on a different Christlike behavior each day and give suggestions for how we can emulate His example. One of those behaviors is showing gratitude, and since we’ve already been talking about gratitude, I decided to focus more on Christ and how he showed gratitude.
I have always tried to teach my children gratitude. When my son was little, he would say “doppy” instead of “thank you,” but he said it any time I gave him something, and I knew what he meant. I have always tried to teach my kids to say “thank you” when people give them a sticker at the grocery store or bring out our food at a restaurant. And even though they are only 2 and 3, they know that saying thank you is one way we let people know we are grateful for what they do for us.
Today I want to share some ideas for teaching toddlers to show gratitude. It can be a hard thing to understand when they are little, but it’s a trait that I want my children to exhibit, just like Jesus Christ did. Hopefully I can spark some ideas so you can find your own way to show gratitude! Yes, these are simple things, but sometimes that’s better for toddlers, am I right?
1. Say prayers of gratitude. Don’t ask for anything, just thank Heavenly Father for all the blessings we have been given.
2. Go around the house and find things you are grateful for
3. Draw pictures to send to grandparents or aunts and uncles to let them know you are grateful for them
4. Ask your toddler why they are grateful for certain things in their lives. You might be surprised by their cute little answers!
5. Have your toddler help you make or buy small gifts for people they are grateful for, like their friends, nursery teachers, or siblings.
6. Let them help you pick out a few toys to give to donate to other kids who don’t have as many as they do.
7. Make little thank you gifts together and bring them around with you in your bag. Give them to people who help you and talk about it with your toddler.
8. Every night talk about blessings you received that day and why you are grateful for them.
9. Read books about gratitude and being thankful.
10. Show your toddler pictures of Christ and tell them stories of how he showed gratitude.
One big way to help teach your children about gratitude is to be grateful yourself. Jesus Christ always found ways to show gratitude and remember the blessings he had, even in the midst of great trials. Say thank you yourself, especially for your toddler and the things they do. Try to stay positive and not to complain about people and small things that would normally get you down (like traffic or trying to cook dinner with two kids running around the kitchen). Jesus Christ was our ultimate example, and we can strive to be like him and #LIGHTtheWORLD through our example to our children, no matter how small they may be. Teaching toddlers to show gratitude doesn’t have to be hard. Find your own way to serve and teach your toddlers by checking our Mormon.org this Christmas. You’ll be amazed at you both learn!