- Consider developing a special signal to remind kids to say thanks in all manner of situations: to their teacher when leaving Sunday school, to the person cleaning the restrooms at the mall (“thanks for your work!”), to the cashier at Target, the waitress at a restaurant, and when someone picks them up from an event.
- Part of the gratitude trick is training our kids eyes (and ours!) to see kindnesses and services received—which happens all. The. Time. We’re working against our natural bent toward entitlement. Towards programming our brains to be givers rather than takers. (What would happen if a kid could quietly thank a teacher when leaving a classroom? Would they be as prone to disrespect, or teacher-bashing in the hall?) Here are a few practical ideas. You know I love Kristen Welch’s Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. I’ll stop here, because I could go on for, well. A lot longer than I’m entitled to.
- Gratitude is the replacement for whining! Though you’ll find more ideas in this targeted article, one of the keys: Have a zero-tolerance whining policy. Never, ever give your child something if they whine for it. (I’ve been known to go so far that I have whining kids stop and think of three things they’re thankful for.)
- Continue with the practice of thank-you notes! The freebies page has a free printable version for younger kids.