Want to know how to teach your kids to be grateful?
Where are the thank-you’s? Where is the appreciation? I hear this complaint often in my child therapy practice. Unfortunately appreciation and gratitude don’t always come naturally for some children. Sometimes you have to teach your kids perspective in order to teach your kids to be grateful.
So how do you turn that attitude into gratitude? Here’s a jumpstart:
Teach your kids to be grateful with these 4 tips:
1. Give your kids perspective
Our kids see life from their own experiences. Most kids aren’t grateful for having three meals a day because they don’t know what it is like to not have three meals a day.
We cannot blame them for this, we just have to teach perspective. Teach your kids a world beyond their universe and give them perspective on life.
2. Have your kids earn privileges and teach your kids to be grateful!
If kids are given everything they want all of the time, why should they be grateful? They don’t know what it is like to not get those things. Yes, their childhood might rock compared to yours, but they didn’t have your childhood. So don’t hold your breath for overflowing gratitude.
Instead you can teach your kids to be grateful by having your children earn their privileges. They want another pair of jeans even though their closet is full of jeans? Have them earn it. They want to go to the zoo? Maybe they have to show good behavior all week to earn that outing.
When kids earn privileges their appreciation and gratitude grow. Also, as a bonus, kids will start to feel pretty good about themselves and their ability to work hard and earn stuff.
3. Create gratitude journals
No matter what is happening in all of our lives, there is always something we can find to feel grateful about. Help your kids identify those things in their lives.
Create a gratitude journal with them. Each day have them list one thing that makes them feel grateful. This will train their brain to search for the positive instead of the negative. Over time, this can permanently teach your kids to be grateful.
If your kids aren’t the journaling type (most aren’t) you can do it at dinner! Go around the table and have everyone say one thing from their day that makes them feel grateful. This not only helps with gratitude, it also gives you a window into your children’s lives.
4. Do family volunteering
Nothing helps kids more than seeing the world from a different perspective. Sign up to volunteer as a family. Not only is this a good family bonding experience, it can be eye opening as well. Help your kids see the needs of other people by having them help the homeless or pack food for developing countries.
As parents it is our job to foster our children’s gratitude. You can help by modeling appreciation in your own lives. You can express your gratitude when things are going well. You can express your appreciation when your kids go above and beyond in something they do. The more you can sprinkle appreciation and gratitude in your daily life, the more your kids will too.
How do you teach your kids to be grateful? Leave a comment below. Know someone who is trying to teach their kids to be grateful? Share this article with them.