WAYS TO SHOW YOU CARE

Your host family does so much for you! Here are some tips to help you show your gratitude…

Find a good time to talk

 If you want to let your host parents know how much you care, find a good time to do so. Parents are busy and will appreciate you not bothering them when they’re busy. 

    • Think about when your host parent is usually free. For example, if your host mom is usually busy on Wednesday nights, don’t talk then. Wait until she has some downtime on a Thursday.
    • Pick a time when your host parent is usually not distracted as well. While your dad may be home most Fridays, maybe he likes to watch a particular show that night. He may not pay as close attention to conversation.

Think about what to say

Showing appreciation can be difficult. You may not be sure exactly what to say. Your host parents do so much for you, so it can be stressful to try to find a precise way to thank them for that. 

    • You can rehearse beforehand. Try to jot down what you want to say.
    • Try reciting your words in front of a mirror. If you practice your words a few times, you’ll be more likely to remember them when the time comes to talk.
    • It helps to visualize specific moments from the past that you shared together. Think of moments that were fun or when they supported you in some endeavor. These types of memories can help bring back the feelings you had at the time, which can help you to put those emotions into words.

Use specifics

It can be nice to give a general “Thank you.” However, you also may want to include some specifics when expressing gratitude to a parent. A host parent will appreciate knowing exactly why you value them. 

    • For example, you may be inclined to say something to your host dad like, “I appreciate all the help you give me.” Try to give a more specific example of how your host dad helped. For example, “I really appreciate how you helped me work through that problem with my friend Justin last week. I really like having someone to talk to when I’m having problems.”
    • In addition to the actions that you host parents took, consider the sacrifices they had to make to host you. For example, say, “I’m grateful that you take the time to help me with my English and also pick me up after dance or soccer practice.”

Share positive things with your host parents.

Work on opening-up to your host parents on a regular basis. You can verbally show appreciation by telling your host parents you appreciate them directly. However, you can also show them by sharing with them. Do not just talk to your parents when something’s gone wrong. Speak to them on a regular basis. 

  • Fill your host parents in on the small details of your life. Let them know how a test went at school, or something funny a friend said that week.
    • Your host family cares about you. They want to know how you’re doing and feeling. Let them in regularly as this can show you appreciate their presence in your life. Say “Thank you” regularly. A simple “thank you” goes a long way to show appreciation. While gratitude certainly goes beyond manners, do not forget your manners. Make sure to thank your host parents throughout your interactions when appropriate. Always thank your host family for paying for dinner. Offer your host mom a “thank you” when she gives you advice. 
    • Give back to them, as well. For example, take them to dinner, help them with yard work, or clean out the garage without being asked.

Write a letter.

A letter can be a fun way to let someone know how much you love and appreciate them and that you care. This can be particularly helpful if you tend to get nervous with face-to-face discussions. Try writing a host parent a thought out thank you letter letting them know you appreciate them. 

    • A thank-you card can be sent in direct response to something. You can, for example, send your host mom a thank-you letter after she takes you to a nice activity. You can also send a letter for a birthday and make a point of expressing appreciation there.
    • However, don’t hesitate to write a letter or send a card simply because you’re feeling grateful. If you value your host parents, it’s important to let them know regularly. 

Make your host family a card.

 This can be great if you’re expressing appreciation for a particular occasion. If it’s your host mom’s birthday, for example, a homemade card telling her how much you care can be a great way to show appreciation. 

    • You can get art supplies at a local craft store and let your creativity run wild. Decorate the card with designs your host parent would like. If you’re not artistically inclined, you can always get a blank card at a gift shop.
    • Inside the card, write a heartfelt letter expressing appreciation. Let your host parents know why you appreciate them every day.

Express positive thoughts on social media.

 Many people use social media to vent frustration and negativity. However, try to use your Facebook or Twitter page to express positivity. Try to post happy memories of your host parents online or post a Facebook status saying exactly why you appreciate them (including your host siblings). 

    • Remember, this may not be as effective if your parents don’t follow you on social media.

Make a video.

If you don’t feel comfortable expressing your gratitude through writing, you could make a special video to show your appreciation instead. You could make a video of you talking, or you could edit together photos of great times you’ve shared. Use your creativity to come up with a unique way to show your host parents how you feel. 

Treat your host parents to a fun day

You don’t always have to use your words to express appreciation. Sometimes, doing something nice for your parents is enough. Your host parents’ value you and want to spend time with you. Plan a fun day full of family activities. 

    • Take your host parents to see a movie they would like.
    • Plan a family picnic.
    • Treat a host parent to lunch.
    • Go to a local attraction, like a museum, with your host family.
    • Consider making the fun day a surprise.

Spend time with your host parents regularly.

The gift of time is often all your parents need to know you appreciate them. Do not wait until something has occurred to show appreciation. Do so regularly by spending time with your host parents. 

Give your host parents a present.

If you’re feeling grateful, try finding a present your parents would like. Presents don’t have to only be given on holidays or special occasions. If you see something your host mom would love at a local gift shop, don’t hesitate to buy it. A surprise gift can really show appreciation, and it does not need to be expensive just heart-felt.

Help-out around the house without being asked.

 Anything your host parents dread doing (chore wise) make sure and do! This will take many sacrifices. In addition to doing any chores expected of you, do a little extra now and then. For example, do the dishes when your host mom has had a busy day at work. Take the trash out when you see your host dad has forgotten to do so. 

Cook them their favorite meal.

Do it secretly, so they won’t try to chime in and help you. 

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