Kids take things for granted: the food they eat, the clothes they wear, their toys, trips, extracurriculars.
And why wouldn’t they? For most kids, food appears when they are hungry, there are clothes in the closet, and a list for Santa is an annual tradition.
How do we teach our kids to be grateful, especially for the things they take for granted?
My kids say thank you for meals at dinnertime mainly because it has been drilled into them since they first sat in a highchair: you thank the person who provides you with food. Same with thanking gift-givers and treat providers. “What do you say to Grammie for that baseball?” In fact, teaching please and thank you becomes so ingrained as a parent that you might find yourself, as I often did, catching yourself saying “What do you say…?” before the kids have time to even spit out their thanks.
When my kids were three or four I was so proud of them when they piped out a “thank you” without prompting I’d heave a little internal sigh: at least I’ve done something right as a parent!
But gratitude, as we all know, goes way beyond mouthing thanks for the things we are given.