I think we all want to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in our kids...in our selves, even! To be grateful for all we have and to see the bright side in any situation is a wonderful value for anyone.
I also believe that our children's attitude of gratitude doesn't come from a one-time event or simply MAKING them do something...but it comes in the every-day conversations and pointing out to our kids that a gift from a friend is not a GIVEN...its a GIFT that's GIVEN. Pointing out those times when someone does something kind for us, modeling gratitude ourselves by letting them hear us thank others for what they've done, and letting our kids hear us as we thank God for His gifts is key to helping them learn this attitude.
That being said our actions must also mirror our thoughts...to further instill those conversations we ask our kids to write thank you notes. We don't always get them sent in a timely manner and not everyone may receive one every time...our kids are young, after all...we're working on it! Here is a simple way I've come up with to help our kids with thank you notes.
First, I make up a photo of the child...I adore www.picnik.com, but that's just me...I like being able to add text to the front of the postcard since most of our kids cannot write extensively. Here are the examples of the ones I made for the kids' birthdays this year.
For TJ I obviously do all the writing. ;)
For Leve I let her decorate the back with a crayon or other lighter colored pencil so that if I do a dark marker over it shows up just fine.
For Kiki and Finn I divide the backs like this
Kiki writes things she knows like, "I (heart) you."
Finn is a little more involved...
I ask him what he's like to say and I write it on a post it. I've found that post its keep him focused on what he's supposed to be doing and let me go and do other things while he works.
Then he has at it!
How does your family cultivate an attitude of gratitude? I'd love to hear your ideas!