Why is it so hard to teach children to be loving and grateful? Is there a Gratitude Formula that increases love and character in kids? Yes, you'll find it inside along with 5 ways to teach it to your kids.

Joseph Stalin said, "Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs." If you agree, read no further. But if you're curious why he thought so, look at his parents. Both his alcoholic father and his fanatical mother beat him savagely. His hate for them and his people is historic.

Look, I'm a parent like you. I want my children to be loving, grateful, and full of character. I know you do too. I also know you do kind things for your children every day. Do they thank you? Or do they expect you to serve them? Below is a no-fail formula for teaching your children to be loving, grateful, and full of character.

The Gratitude Formula that Builds Character:

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward

I've been guilty of letting others' kindnesses go unmentioned. Perhaps you have too. Not onyx must we teach our children to be grateful, we mustn't forget to be grateful too.

Gratitude Formula = Name + Thank You + Specific Action + Appreciation

Let's say your daughter, Jeni, vacuumed without being told. You'd be using the formula if you said:
"Jeni, thank-you for vacuuming. I really appreciate it."

Maybe your son picked up his toys without being told. Use the gratitude formula by saying,
"Eric, thank- you for picking up your toys. I really appreciate it."

Perhaps your Chris surprised you by setting the table before you came home from work. You could say,
"Chris, thank-you for setting the table. I really appreciate it."

See how simple it is? It needs to stay simple when you teach it to your kids too.

The trick is to notice the wonderful things your kids do. Once you start noticing, make sure you deliver your gifts of gratitude. Your words will please your kids. They'll encourage your kids to keep doing loving acts too.

Now that you're modeling gratitude, it's time to teach it.

5 Ways to Teach the Gratitude Formula and Build Character:

1. During your Family Meetings, use the Gratitude Formula. Discuss how to use it, when to use it, and who to use it with. After that make it a part of the compliment section of every family meeting.

2. If you don't hold Family Meetings yet, talk about it and role-play using it during Sunday dinner.

3. Discuss the Gratitude Formula and practice it during long car drives.

4. Create a chart with each member's name and tally how many times each member used the Gratitude Formula during the day. Include using it with each other, teachers, co-workers, and friends. Encourage talking about the results too. Post the chart where everyone can see it.

5. At bedtime ask your child to name 3 times when he felt gratitude during the day. Ask if he used the Gratitude Formula. Praise him for doing so.

Conclusion ~ Building Character with the Gratitude Formula:

As Eileen Caddy once said, "Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you."

Teach your children to be grateful by noticing the good things they do. Offer your gift of your gratitude by delivering it with the Gratitude formula.

Discuss it during Family Meetings, Sunday dinners, and long car drives. Create a Gratitude Chart. Talk about it at bedtime too. Bring joy, laughter, and appreciation into your family with the Gratitude Formula. Your children will become people of character.

Author's Bio: 

Jean Tracy, MSS publishes a Free Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe at www.KidsDiscuss.com and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

If you’d like to boost your parenting skills, pick up our Parenting Skills Kit at www.kidsdiscuss.com/parent_resource_center.asp?pr_id=kd003 and enjoy the confidence of parenting well.