One of the words we learn and teach our children since they are small is definitely “Thank you”. Being grateful goes beyond the reaction to a kind gesture.
When you analyse the sheer amount of, privileges, opportunities and material possessions most kids find themselves having through no effort of their own, it’s easy to understand why many of them may feel entitled. After all, it becomes their right, without caring to know where it comes from. Teaching kids to be grateful help fine tune their opinions on the fact, that all those treats,toys and home comforts didnt just exist from no where. It delivers a sense of recognition that whatever they own and opportunities they may have have come from someone other than themselves, and who work so had for it and should be appreciated often.
In addition, gratitude instils the feeling of acceptance and strengthens relationship. Think about it: Even as adults we love to be appreciated everyday, even in our work places. I don’t think anyone will enjoy working with a boss or colleagues who takes your effort for granted with a desultory grunt of thanks? I believe no one will like.
The article of recent journal on wall street article “Raising Children with an Attitude of gratitude” it explained how kids who expressed gratitude reaped solid benefits and a better attitude in learning.
As for me a mom of 3 children, I understand my children with their strong personalities and being very different from each other. Although at the beginning it was difficult, with my first son almost 6 years old today. I can say with pride that he is a child aware of what it means to be grateful.
Koko: Mom, can I go out and play?
Koko: Thanks Mom!
So how can we help our children to learn to live gratefully, here are my 8 tips that l feel can help grow a grateful attitude in your home.
Be a grateful parent
Before sitting at the table and when the family is gathered to eat, give thanks and include your children to repeat the reason why they are grateful. It can be for Dad, Mom, for his brothers, for his health, for the school, his teacher, grandparents, for his food and even for other children. At bedtime you can do the same, you can call that action … pray or meditate.
Resist the urge to shower them with gifts
It is important to remind them that we as parents work to give them education and material things for which we deserve respect and consideration. Of course this should not be used as a weapon of manipulation against our children. It happened to me that every time we went to a store my children demanded that I should buy toys, I had to put myself in a firm position and tell them that money does not grow inside the wallet and that daddy gets up very early so we can have what is indispensable.
Teach them to take responsibility
Start early to encourage them to take responsibilities like buying their own toys with their own saving allowances or with the money they earned at job, when kids buy stuffs with the money they saved up, it naturally, gives them a sense of ownership and they gain an understanding of the value of every dime they spend. It will also teach them to have restraints in spending and give them a realistic perspective of any small thing mom and dad or any other person does for them.
Set the example
Every time we return home on a long trip I say out loud, thank you lord for letting us arrive safely and and they see me do it often and as they grow it will be a part of them.
Teach them to be polite
I always remind my children to use courtesy words with adults, with other children, and between them. I tell my older boy that even though his little brother is small he should also be nice to him.
Use real-life situation to illustrate your point
Kids are very good in putting things together, every opportunity should be seized to teach them the concept of gratitude, Be at alert and utilize any real- life situation that eloquently buttressed your point. If they connect what is being taught them to their real life experiences the lesson we are teaching will be more likely to stick.
Teach them to thank those who serve them.
Encourage your kids to be thankful not because of the gifts or material kindness received but to be thankful and acknowledge people who quietly make a differerence in their life. From the driver down to the house help who clean up the family aftermath dinner mess. You should encourage and remind them of the need to be grateful and appreciate there teachers in school, and other people who give us some form of little services like the gateman, helpful librarian, friends who host them for parties, etc.
Don’t stop giving thanks
Do not wait for a particular day to give thanks, this must be continuous throughout the year. Most Religious practices encourages the need to count ones blessings and be grateful always. Take them along while attending church services or religious programs, with that they will unavoidably hear about the word “being grateful” and as often times they hear it,it definitely will stick.
The earlier we start, the better, and above all, that they understand that it must be a voluntary act, to give thanks for their birth and not for obligation. My best way of teaching them is by setting the example. Sometimes I hug them, I tell them that I love them and I thank them for being good. If they give me something in the hand or ask a favor, in return I express my gratitude. This is easy without being a scheduled event.
I like being grateful, it is something that I value a lot within a sincere friendship, imagine how wonderful the world will become if we pass this attitude to our children and raise children with a grateful heart.
Do you have any other tips? Please kindly share your opinion.