Congratulations! After years of training and countless solicitations of the magic word, your kids' auto-reply is set to "thank you." Now, if you can only get them to mean it.
"Thankfulness ranks up there with character, integrity, self-control, and shared values in a family," according to Jeff Brown, Psy.D., an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School and author of Think Positive for Great Health. Fostering a thankful attitude, he says, is an important responsibility for parents: "If your child doesn't absorb the value of thankfulness from you, who will it come from?"
With an aim toward aiding the absorption, we came up with some fun ideas for the whole family to put appreciation into action. And don't worry if your younger children aren't exactly lofty in counting their blessings. Brown calls it "a good start" if kids are thankful for things like toys, trinkets, or even the old refrigerator box they've turned into a clubhouse. "As children grow, their thinking changes, and they're better able to recognize things of an abstract nature," he says. "At that point, they might value things such as community, a warm home, or intelligence."
So let the games begin.