This guest post is brought to you by childcare experts at Kiddie Academy. It is definitely a subject I need help with, as Jacob tends to go through “more, more, more” phases.

Raising Appreciative Children

The first expression of etiquette that we teach our children is the simple yet oft-forgotten phrase, “Thank you.”

After hearing repeated pleas of “I want” or just plain old “gimme” from our children, those two little words give a parent great pleasure. But how do we instill in our children the importance of saying thank you, and the broader concept behind it—appreciation?

There’s no need to get discouraged when our very young children don’t show appreciation easily or without constant prompting; they are, by nature, very ego-centric little beings. That’s why the simple and seemingly trivial activity of having preschoolers compare heartbeats with a classmate is actually a meaningful practice, as it allows young children to realize (quite literally) that they’re not the only ones with a pulse!

Clearly, a sense of appreciation starts with the knowledge that the world is larger than ourselves. Here are some ways to instill this concept into your young child.

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Talk about appreciation. From our family to our neighborhood to the whole planet, we have a lot to appreciate. Start small with your children by pointing out how lucky we are to be part of a family. Ask your children what they like about your family—what things they enjoy doing as a family, and what they appreciate about individual members in your family. And remember to tell your children what you appreciate in them.

Model it. Every day, we have countless opportunities to show our appreciation—to the cashier at the grocery store, the crossing guard, the kind soul who lets us slide our car in front of his in traffic. It’s so important for our children to see us model appreciation; it’s our best shot at turning out kids who are polite and appreciative themselves.

Practice it. Of course it gets tiresome to remind our children to say “thank you” after they’ve had a playdate, when they receive a gift from someone, even when you get them a drink of water. But there is no greater reward for a parent than when you hear your child say “thank you” for the first time, completely unsolicited. Then, you realize, your consistent reminders were well worth it.

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This article was provided and sponsored by Kiddie Academy® a leader in education-based childcare for 30 years. Kiddie Academy serves families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs.  You can visit the KA Family Essentials blog and LIKE them on FB for additional information.