You don't need a major occasion or monumental reason for showing gratitude and appreciation for your family. Thank those around you for taking out the trash or making your favorite meal for dinner. Saying "thank you" is a must if you want your family members to know their value.
Stage a family fun event to show everyone how much you appreciate them. If your husband is a movie buff, host a family movie night and rent his favorite flicks. On the HealthyChildren.org website, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests turning an ordinary dinner into a celebratory occasion with dessert. Thank everyone for their help around the house with a bowling night. If you don't have kids, one spouse can easily thank the other through a fun-filled activity. A husband can create a flirty evening in, making a romantic candle-lit dinner for his wife. Another option is to choose an out-of-the-ordinary activity, such as a couples spa day or a sunset horseback ride.
Saying thank you to your family doesn't mean that you have to buy pricey cards. Whether you want to thank your sister for treating you to dinner or you wish to tell your spouse that you appreciate the thought that went into a birthday present, a handmade note or card is heartfelt and loving. Fold a piece of card paper in half to make a card. Write poetic prose or a simple, "thank you," on the card. Write something specific about why you are grateful. For example, if your wife threw a surprise birthday bash, use the note to tell her how much you appreciated the event.
Teach your family how to say thank you by giving back. Give a donation or volunteer your time. For example, if you want to say thank you to your spouse for walking the dog each morning, make a donation to the local animal shelter in her name. Kids can get in on the donation or volunteer action as well. The KidsHealth website notes that charity can teach children that giving doesn't just refer to gifts.
When a grand gesture isn't needed, use simple words. It may seem like common sense to say "Hey, thanks!" to your husband, wife, child or parents when they do something for you, but sometimes family members overlook those everyday moments. Don't wait for a loved one to do something outrageously generous before you offer a verbal thank you. Instead, remember to utter those two words for seemingly small favors, such as your wife picking up the dry cleaning after a busy day at work or your brother driving you to the airport.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.