Did you know that people who practice gratitude are 25% percent happier than those who don’t? According to a study by the Greater Good Science Center they are also more likely to be interested, determined, and enthusiastic than those who don’t. Having an attitude of gratitude can not only make us thrive as people, but it can also do wonders for your own kids! If you’ve been trying to teach your kids how to be more grateful, then read on! Today I’m talking about how you can raise a grateful child.
Say Thank You
Whenever you get the opportunity, encourage your kids to say thank you. By starting this practice early, it will be ingrained in their brains preparing them to practice gratitude later. Even more important than reminding your children to say thank you is making sure they hear you say those words often!
You should always thank your child when they do something thoughtful, work hard, or demonstrate any other good behavior that warrants a thank you. Children learn best by watching us – so be sure you’re setting a good example!
related: Thankful for Motherhood
Don’t give them everything
We’ve all been there before. You know what I’m talking about, when you’re willing to do just about anything you can to make them stop complaining, crying, or something else. It can be tempting to just give them anything they want, but I would urge you to restrain. By not giving them everything they want you are teaching them restraint, and also how to be grateful for what they have.
It’s also important not to lavish your children with too much stuff. The more stuff a child has, the less appreciation he will show for the things he has – and new things he receives. It’s okay to let your kids want things and not give in to the temptation to always buy what they want. Waiting to receive something special or even having to work hard to earn it means that your child will learn important lesson that only waiting patiently can teach them. Always allowing your child to have instant gratification can make for selfish, entitled kids.
Teach your kids about working hard and rewards
If your kids want something, teach them to work for it as an exchange. Maybe they need to do more chores around the house or help out in the community. Whatever you choose, it’s important to teach our kids the value of working hard for something they want.
Also, be sure that the rewards aren’t completely off the wall, and the reward matches the work done. If your child does a good job, reward the effort but don’t over-reward. Paying your child high wages for small job teaches them a false lesson that will follow them through life. Most adults have to work very hard for their money and money isn’t always easy to come by. Your child should understand that concept.
Kids that work hard are more grateful for what they earned.
related: My Chores Punch Card
Teach your kids about the less fortunate
It’s easy for children to blindly go through their lives without understanding that some people struggle to get their basic needs. Have them volunteer in the community or teach them about underdeveloped countries to help them understand that they have a lot to be grateful for. By allowing them to see that others don’t have as much, they can learn to appreciate what they do have.
Our family always puts together food baskets for the poor in our community and we deliver the baskets to those in need every holiday season. It’s good for kids to see how the less fortunate live. It teaches them to have empathy for others as well as how to appreciate the many blessings in their own lives. It breaks our hearts to see how little people right in our own community have. It also puts things in perspective. It’s hard to be greedy when you see so much need all around you.
Another great idea is to use the “Plus 1” when buying takeout. Children love this idea and it’s a great way to let them be a blessing to someone in need. The way it works is that when you go through a fast food drive thru you get a “plus 1 meal” and take it to a homeless person.
We also collect hotel soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes and other personal hygiene items in bags or old purses to give to the homeless and in the winter we also add warm gloves and hats.
There are so many ways to help your child learn to be grateful. What are some of your favorite ways?