Lisa Hendey of Productivity @ Home suggests several ways to encourage thankfulness in children. At the top of the list is “pray together”, and we’re not a praying family at all, but the rest of the tips are good, especialy the fourth, “Remember to thank your children”:

Next time your child brings home a test that falls short of your expectations, why not try genuinely thanking him for his efforts in school prior to launching into an interrogation? Thank the child who helps with chores, lovingly helps a sibling, or is kind to a friend. Take the time to say you appreciate the person they are becoming.

To be honest, it took me a little while to figure out how to be thankful and express thankfulness when I moved in with my partner and her kids. In fact, it was one of the early challenges we faced. She is always careful to thank me or the kids when one of us does something, like setting the table or finishing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen counter. I considered these acts part of the regular running of the home and did not see them as anything special to remark on. So, I would cook dinner one night and she would thank me, nad the next night she would cook and I would… not say anything.

The tension built and built until we finally got into a row over the laundry, but it wasn’t really over the laundry, it was over me taking all the stuff she did or me for granted, while she too nothing I did for her for granted. And you know what? She was right. We do things in the home because they need doing, and because it’s our turn, and because we happen to be there at the time, and for every other reason — but we also do them for each other and for he kids out of love, and that really is something to be thankful about and to offer thanks for.

So, now I’m a big thanker, and the kids are growing into big thankers too. And you know what? I’m thankful for that, too.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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