How to Teach Your Little One Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
As the holidays approach, I am acutely aware of the fact that my daughters perhaps do not have enough gratitude in their life. I think it all stems from not wanting for anything.
I grew up in meager circumstances. We didn’t have much, so when we got anything, we expressed gratitude. When I had my own children, I wanted to make sure they never wanted for anything because I had wanted for so much, and I did just that.
I thought I was doing something good for my children. Instilling security and a feeling of safety in their hearts. I felt that by never wanting, they would know that I would always provide for their needs and they’d never have to feel pangs of envy when their friends had all the latest gadgets and the best birthday parties because I would make sure they had it, too.
Unfortunately, they were too young to understand the implications and only understood the surface; they got a lot of things. They came to expect it.
Things that come too easily and are not earned or worked for are just things. They couldn’t appreciate it because they always had it. In order for you to appreciate having things, you have to have not had it, at least once.
Here are a few ways to teach your kids gratitude:
- Have the kids help out around the house. Give your child a chore, and let them complete it. It may be easier to just do it yourself, but the more you don’t allow them to do for themselves, the less they will appreciate your help. By doing simple chores, children learn what hard work it takes for you to do these things and have a greater appreciation for what you do.
- Get in the habit of taking turns saying what you are grateful for at the dinner table. Ask your child what they are thankful for each day and why. This will teach them to consider why they are thankful for the gifts in their life.
- Teach your children to always find two positive things about every gift they ever receive and to verbalize those positive points. My girls had gotten to the point where they got so many gifts at holidays and birthdays that they just go on to the next gift, completely taking for granted all of the thought and money that someone has put into finding the gift for them. This is a great way to get them in the habit of being thoughtful and grateful.
- Insist on your children writing thank-you notes. The physical act of writing a thank you note, the thought and time it takes, gives your child pause to think about the gift they received and appreciate it.
- Teach your children to give back through charity. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate toys to the local homeless shelter or visit the elderly. There are so many opportunities for service and charity. We are our children’ s examples. They learn from watching us and by being with people who are less fortunate; it may help them appreciate what they have more and have more compassion for those who have less.
How do you teach your children to have an attitude of gratitude?
Photo Source: Sadie Hernandez