One day, the parents of a toddler came to me. They were quite upset by the fact that their son does not appreciate little things. They further said,
“Once he demanded a remote control car. He was so into that car, he always pleaded whenever we passed a toy store. So, finally, we decided to get him that car and it seems a perfect gift for his birthday. That car turns out to be really expensive and way out of our range. But we told ourselves at least he would acknowledge our efforts and be very happy. When we gave him the present, he was indeed happy, without sparing any minute he started playing with it. We were so happy, although quite upset that he didn’t pay any attention to hug us or at least say thank you. But it’s okay as long as he’s happy. With this, he started demanding more stuff like really expensive ones and we somewhat managed to get those for him. Soon we realize that the more we give him, the less he recognises our efforts.”
Would he ever be grateful for what he has? This question continuously haunts them. And to find an answer, they approached me.
This is a major concern of parents and they want to teach their kids gratitude. So to all those parents, this blog would be the answer.
Gratitude is one of the trickiest tasks that you have to teach your child. Gratitude is something that makes your child more polite and more appreciable for the things they have. By learning gratitude, they become more sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other major life skills. Gratitude also gives perspective — even in kids. When you take into record the sheer amount of opportunities, chances and material possessions most kids enjoy through no effort of their own, it’s easy to see why many of them feel empowered. After all, they get used to getting stuff without recognising or caring where it comes from. Practising gratitude, on the other hand, emphasises the fact that all those toys and lessons and comforts don’t just pop out of thin air. When kids recognize that the things they enjoy and the opportunities they have come from someone other than themselves, it helps them to acquire a healthy understanding of how interdependent we all are, and they may be more inclined to treat others with genuine regard.
There are some things which parents must do in order to teach their kids the importance of gratitude. Gratitude is like a seed, once it’s embedded in the soil, the fruit will nourish generations for years.
- Be a grateful parent
It’s good to set an example for your kids. This doesn’t mean to be grateful to the materialistic things only. This goes far beyond that. Be grateful for the tiniest thing you have in your life. Our life has become really easy and we got so much help from other people doing different chores. We must acknowledge that and teach our kids not to take anything for granted. Parents are the first role model of a kid, so try to set a good example in front of them.
- Don’t just shower them with too much stuff
Every parent wants to give their child what they don’t have as a kid. We totally respect that emotion. However, if they keep getting whatever they want, whenever they want, then it surely dilutes their gratitude impulse. They must know how much hard work you’ve put in. If they keep getting stuff easily, they’re going to lose respect not only to that stuff but also your efforts. Do tell them and make them understand that they can’t just make some random wishes and expect them to be fulfilled. Teach them that they must appreciate what they have as others don’t have access to such luxury. This conversation should be taken very cautiously as they shouldn’t take it as a taunt. So, make sure that they don’t keep their eyes on newer and shinier things only.
- Attitude of gratitude
It’s in the nature of kids to complain or whining over the things. But it’s up to us, the adults how we encourage them to see to the brighter side. And this is called the attitude of gratitude. It is based on the perspective rather than circumstances. Teach them to find their own silver lining. It encourages them to see the positive side of every story and let them focus on good things.
- Learn the art of saying NO!
On an hourly basis, kids want something, let it be toys, video games or candies. We can’t control their urges and thus at the end, they get whatever they want. It’s essential to say to them no, they need to understand that they can’t just get anything they want. Sometimes, it’s not possible for the parents to fulfill their child’s demands and there’s nothing to feel sad about. Some things are way out of our league and our children must understand and respect that. So, without hesitating try to say no whenever they start requesting something out of the box.
- Teach them there and there
When kids keep getting things so easily, they tend to forget it’s value. That’s how they start taking things for granted. To teach them how much hard work and efforts made, parents can indulge their child to help them in running some errands. Also, parents must keep a check on their child, if they are saying “thank you” or “sorry” or “please”. They must learn to use these golden words whenever somebody does nicely to them. If they forget to use these words, stop them there and there and ask them to say it. That’s how it becomes a habit and they will recognise somebody’s efforts.
Apart from these above pointers, parents can make this teaching a fun time. Kids maybe won’t listen to your boring lectures but when you add some fun element in it, they get your point more easily. They must be grateful to others and must express their gratitude towards the blessings they have. Similarly, given below are some fun things you can try with your kid and teach them the importance of gratitude.
- Gratitude tree
Kids sometimes unconsciously do things but are unaware of. To make them recognize these, you can make a tree. Then ask your child to make a leaf and write down the things for which they’re grateful. When they’re writing these, they are openly accepting the fact that they are grateful. It’s a really fun activity as you can also keep a check. The more leaves, the more the child is understanding about gratitude.
- Gratitude game
Apart from the gratitude tree, to make it more fun, you can make a rule that before dinner, everyone has to tell one thing that they’re grateful for. And this has to be done on a daily basis. Initially, the kids acknowledge the materialistic things. However, eventually, they understand that real happiness and gratitude is hidden in the acts of care, love and kindness.
Moreover, you can also celebrate some weekends as “Gratitude Weekends”. Take them to some orphanages. There are tons of essentials like toys or clothes that your kid didn’t use anymore. Indulge your kid in donating those essentials. Let them discover the art of giving to those who are in real need and appreciate what they have.
- Gratitude journal
Journal writing is always the fruitful thing you can teach your kid. It has numerous benefits. They indulge themselves in writing and have their new best friend as there are certain which they can’t share with anybody. So, writing things down really helps your child to stay mentally stable. Writing things for which they are grateful, makes them appreciate and they tend to show more gratitude.
Our children must feel content and recognize the fact that they have a blessed life as their parents are working really hard. The least they can do is to show some gratitude towards what they have. Not everyone is lucky to have those things in their life. So, make sure you teach your kids a good lesson about gratitude.