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10 Ways To Teach Your Kids Not To Take Everything For Granted In An Entitled World

10 Ways To Teach Your Kids Not To Take Everything For Granted In An Entitled World

A couple weeks ago, I sat in on my daughter’s first day of school and listened to the teacher as she described the rules for her class. I snoozed through half the lecture, not needing to hear the rules about using the bathroom, raising your hand, yada yada, until she got to the last one: the cell phone rule.

Say what?

This is fourth grade.

No cell phones allowed. Leave them in the back pack, turned off. Or leave them at home. 

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Man, that got sighs and eye-rolls and (practically) tears. In fourth grade.

More than half the class has cell phones. Not just cell phones, either. These kids are packing top of the line smartphones. This is definitely a sign of the times. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those kids having phones. In fact, on the way out, I heard one classmate use a voice-to-text to tell his mom, “I’m walking home now.” I wonder, though, did he do anything to earn the phone? Or does he appreciate the phone?

Don’t get me wrong – our son has a smart phone (an iPhone, to be exact). What’s great about this is it’s our biggest piece of leverage we have with him. He loves his phone and the second we make the threat (to take it away), whatever the issue is, it’s fixed. Of course, we’ve also taken the kids to an “old-school” pay phone, one we searched high and low for, and made them call us. Our daughter almost vomited from whatever sticky mess was on the mouth piece of the phone. Thank God our son is a numbers wiz because he actually had several phone numbers memorized. They needed lessons on how to put the money in (like a candy machine) and then what to do. “You push the buttons…like a cell phone. Hello!” They couldn’t understand the concept, hence, their instantly renewed gratitude for the cell phone.

“Please, Mom,” my 13-year-old son said, “I’ll do any chore. Just never make me call from one of these again.”

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Okay, so the lesson wasn’t exactly torture (minus the three required hand washing sessions because both my kids are heart patients and therefore not equipped with the best immune systems), but it did the trick. It was one of the daily, weekly or monthly lessons in gratitude I so love to spring on them.

I will say this: I have a slight benefit in this over-entitled world. My kids were born with chronic illnesses. They’ll never have it “easy”. They’ve learned the hard way not to take things for granted. There’s times when they’ve been so sick, we worried about living. Period. There’s not a lot of BIG things we take for granted. I find, though, like normal kids in the 21st century, they tend to take some of the little things for granted. So how do I make sure this doesn’t happen?

1. Be a role model.

I work hard every day not to take things for granted. I teach gratitude by showing my own gratitude. You shouldn’t need to on the brink of death or have had something happen to realize how important people or things are in your life, or how lucky you are. If you don’t take things for granted, neither will your kids.

2. It’s always a WIP (Work In Progress).

Learning gratitude is something that never stops. You must always take the time to be grateful for what you have and the people in your life.

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3. Choose just one thing and practice.

You can’t expect entitled 21st century kids to change their spots in a day. Choose one item or one person to focus on and pick one activity to show how grateful you are for that choice. Make a list of things you like about that person. Write a thank you note for the item you received.

4. Thank your children.

Again, when you model gratitude, you’re teaching them the behavior. If they do something right or complete a task without being asked, thank them. They’re human, too. They like to be appreciated. When you appreciate them it teaches them to appreciate you.

5. Teach them about freedom.

Regardless of your political beliefs, and without spouting off your ideas about politicians, teach your children about the freedom they are awarded in this country. Remind them regularly to be grateful for that freedom. It’s a privilege.

6. Ask them to give back.

By asking them, you’re putting the ball in their court. See what ideas they come up with. Kids are more prone to commit, follow through and understand, when they come up with the ideas themselves. It can be as simple as giving flowers to a neighbor or as detailed as planning a large toy drive for a local hospital.

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7. Teach the fine art of thank you notes.

Make sure you always have thank you notes on-hand. Teach them how to write a basic, age-appropriate thank you note. Be sure to write it and send it in a timely manner. Even better, make sure you’re sending thank you notes. Yes, even as an adult. Practice what you preach. (Not e-mail or text, either.)

8. Change “entitled behavior” at that moment.

Use an entitled behavior action as a teachable moment. Turn it around. Teach your child at that moment what’s truly important. Ask them what’s important and why they deserve something. Nip it in the bud right then and there.

9. Look at the little things with new eyes.

Point out the smaller things and talk about them. Clean water. Food on the table. Clothes on your backs. Toys to play with. Friends. Smartphones! Point out the obvious and the not-so-obvious and teach your kids to be grateful for all these things.

10. Entitlement is learned. Don’t teach that subject.

Look, nobody wants spoiled brats. (Think Veruka Salt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.) Teaching kids not to take things for granted seems easy, but it takes a little work every single day. Make sure you wear your gratitude glasses every day because you’re kids are not only learning from your words, but from your behavior as well.

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Featured photo credit: Carissa Rogers via flickr.com

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Published on July 22, 2021

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

    These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

    Get the recipe here.

    2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

      This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

      To try this recipe, go here.

      3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

        Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

        Check out the recipe here.

        4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

          Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

          5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

            This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

            Find the recipe here.

            6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

              The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

              Get the recipe for this dish here.

              7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                You can find the recipe here.

                8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                  Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                  Find the recipe here.

                  9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                    This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                    Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                    10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                      Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                      The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                      11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                        Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                        Find the recipe here.

                        12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                          This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                          Find the recipe here.

                          13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                            Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                            This easy recipe can be found here.

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                            14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                              Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                              Find out how to make it here.

                              15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                The recipe can be found here.

                                16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                  This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                  Find the recipe here.

                                  17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                    Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                    Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                    18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                      Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                        Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                        20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                          Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                          Get the recipe here.

                                          Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                          Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                          Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                          1. Lose the Sugar

                                          Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                          2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                          Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                          3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                          Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                          When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                          Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                          Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                          More Healthy Eating Tips

                                          Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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