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Child Development

Want Your Kids To Become More Mindful? You Should Reward Them In This Way.

So your kid did a good job at school? That’s wonderful news! How would you reward him or her? Chances are, you currently do so by buying the latest gadget, a new toy, or basically anything materialistic that requires money but not time. And this is where most of us err…

By using money to buy them something as a reward inculcates the wrong idea about money in their little minds – in effect, we are teaching them that spending money and buying materialistic things is a reward – and so they will end up self-rewarding the same way even when they are grown up.1

We all want out kids to be satisfied adults who are grateful for what they have, not ones that have a hoarder mentality. We want them to be mindful of their spending habits. In order for them to be this way, we have to make a few changes, starting now.

Reward them with time, not money

You can buy your child a toy or a gadget as a gift, but do not use it as a reward. To reward your children, invest your time, not money – a trip to the zoo, museum, or the movie theater is a much better idea than simply getting them the latest game or gadget. You can make this a special one-on-one trip with your child and give him or her the benefit of your attention.2 Experiential trips make for great rewards and teach children that money is not everything, spending some mindful time together is.

Make a core family value chart

Sit down with your spouse and kids. Jot down the five family values that you think are most important and ask your kids to do the same. They might just be five words, but the way ahead is to teach your kids how to put them to good use in real life and practical situations.3 Say generosity is one of your family values – being generous then means helping out others in need and putting aside some money to be given to charity. Show kids how donating their toys can hep put a smile on a poverty-stricken child’s face or how spending some of that pocket-change to do good for others is a great thing to do.

Inculcate gratitude as an everyday routine

Make a routine before the kids go to bed where you ask them to write or talk about one thing that they have seen or experienced that day that they are thankful for. It could be anything – a friend, an emotion, and a flower that bloomed, or rain that went away. This teaches them to count their blessings and slowly molds them into happier people. Gratitude teaches them the value of emotions and kindness over materialism.4

Cheap is fun too

To have fun, we ourselves tend to spend money on a trip, a dinner, or some retail therapy. And so, our kids too end up learning the same thing. Teach them that to have fun, one doesn’t have to spend money – sing songs with them, play hide and seek, try a board game or watch a fun, scary movie together.5 If you don’t associate fun with money, your kids will be mindful spenders for the rest of their lives.

Think before you comment

We inadvertently let the cat out of the bag when we comment rather enviously about people striking a fortune, making it big, taking exotic vacations, or buying that dream car. And, being impressionable, kids decide that money truly makes the world go round. Be mindful of what you say when your kids are in earshot. In any case, remember that envy is one of the seven sins!6

Walk the kindness walk

Charity, generosity, kindness, benevolence, call it anything, but by showing children your helpful side, you teach them the value of being and doing good and to not be self-centered all the time. If they see you donate something, help someone or even give money to charity, they learn that by making other people happy, you can become a happier person in a wholesome way. Perhaps this is truly the way to achieving mindful joy!7

These are six rather simple changes we can make today that may help our children turn into mindful and wholesome adults in the future.

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