How often have you heard the sentence “Oh, they’re so ungrateful”? I am sure hundreds of times. However, did you ever think that that man was once a child, a child whose parents didn’t instill the value of gratitude in him? Since the child’s mind is considered to be a “tabula rasa”, our job is to teach them some core values, and this is why we have singled out 7 simple activities which will help you foster gratitude in your children.
Be a role model
It may seem obvious, but just stop and think, how many times you were the one who forgot to say “Thank you”. Children learn by observing role models, and as a parent, you must be theirs. This is why, before you start preaching, you should learn not to forget these magical words. Only then, can you start instilling this value in your children.
You can teach your children to write you and other family members so called thank-you notes. Whenever they see that a member of the family did something nice for them, they can write a note and put it on your homemade thank-you board. In this way, not only will this habit gradually turn into a personality trait, but you will also create a friendly and loving environment suitable for the healthy psychological development of your child.
We said we have simple activities that can help you develop gratitude in your children. However, you should understand that no matter how simple these activities are, the process itself is not. It takes time and you have to be patient if you want to see steady progress. Children are fragile beings and they do not respond well to punishments and threats.
Teach the children how to help others
Organize a “Helping day” every once in a while. This can be a special day marked in a calendar and holidays are the perfect time for such a day. You can remind your children of good deeds done by close neighbors and consult them about a decision on how to thank them. For example, you can suggest finding beautiful Christmas lights online for the neighbors, and instruct the children to help them decorate the house. In this way, children will feel good about themselves and learn that gratefulness and giving are as good as receiving.
Discuss your children’s desires
It is perfectly fine for a parent to make sure that their child wants for nothing. However, will your children ever be grateful for what they have if they get a brand new overpriced mobile phone, only because they got bored with the old one? No. This is why you have to discuss their wishes and teach them to differentiate between real necessities and some capricious desires. The essence of gratefulness is being satisfied with what you have and this is why you have to stop pampering your children.
Teach your children to give their things to others as gifts
You should talk to your children about those in need. They should know about their peers who live in foster homes without basic necessities, not to mention expensive toys. In this way, they will realize how grateful they should be for everything that you do for them. Furthermore, you should encourage them to help the underprivileged. Discuss with them whether they really need all the toys they have and how they would feel if they gave some of them to the children who have none.
Superheroes are your allies
As you already know, you share the responsibility of being a good role model with superheroes. Children adore them and you should certainly play the superhero card here. Help your children notice how their favorite characters are always ready to stand up for others and help them. Also, don’t forget to mention how satisfied they should be with what they have. Since your children already want to be like them, it is enough just to point to the exact characteristics they should copy.
As you can see fostering this noble trait of gratitude in children takes time. However, you should follow our advice and never give up. I am sure that, in the future, you would not like to hear the sentence “Oh, he is such an ungrateful person” related to your child in any context.
About the author: Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”