Kids who show gratitude are happier and have better grades according to the Wall Street Journal. More to this, people who show gratitude sleep better, have more energy and are more positive as they connect with people. So how do you instill this quality in your kids?
1. Lead by example.
Your desire to make your kids grateful starts from you. Give to those in need and involve your kids in the process. Let them see what is involved. By offering some of your items to those in need you prove to your kids that you are thankful for all that you have and that you are willing to share a piece of it.
2. Interact with your kids.
Talking to your kids reveal their motives and desires. Are they grateful for all that they have? What are the three things that they are most appreciative of in their day or from the past? By engaging them in questions and filtering through their thoughts you are able to make them realize the need of being grateful.
3. Urge them to be grateful.
There are opportunities that could arise that spontaneously test them and offer them the chance to show gratitude. Do not rebuke them for showing gratitude even if they may have gone overboard in performing this good deed. Always present them with an atmosphere for expressing their gratitude.
4. Take them to an environment where scarcity rules.
According to studies, gratitude is best cultivated under conditions of scarcity. Although many readers may have been brought up in a society of abundance, it is necessary to take your kids to where scarcity dominates daily activities. It may be to a homeless shelter or an orphanage, visits to such places opens their eyes to the contentment they have and build their gratitude.
5. Keep company with those who value gratitude.
Raise and surround your kids with people who value gratitude. You should not be hanging around affluent families who do not value the lovely quality of gratitude. But spend time with people who share the same values as yours.
6. Never give them everything they demand for.
For the affluent, replacing items and getting new toys or gadgets is not so much of a big deal. But if you make it a practice of giving them more than they need or offering a new item to them every now and then, they will never be appreciative of what they already have. Try giving them less and make grateful for the old items they already have.
7. Let them earn everything you give to them.
We love to buy our kids gifts and give them things that will make them happy. However this could make them ungrateful and spoiled if it is done excessively. Sometimes let them earn what they demand for. If they want a new bicycle, why don’t you also make a demand for them to improve their grades first? With this you will be making them more grateful for what they have because they earned it.
8. Write thank you cards.
Even though kids these days have low attention spans they would notice it if you write thank you notes on paper or on cards. Although this is a simple act, it could go a long way in making your kids see the need for being grateful.
9. Share your experiences with them.
Tell them your stories and how you worked hard for what you have. Such subjects like “life is not fair” should be ingrained in your conversations with them.
10. Encourage them to save.
Hold them responsible and accountable for every cent or dollar you give to them. Encourage them to save their money and use it wisely. Let them value money and understand it is a tool rather than a commodity. Try doing this when they are still very young.
11. Practice delayed gratification.
You shouldn’t be saying yes to their every desires. Say no on many occasions when you can afford an item for them makes them aware that their gratification should be delayed and accessed rather than a free pass to getting all they want.
12. Set expectations.
Let them know that there are boundaries and limitations when you are either going for shopping or going out. You should make them aware of this, if you are only going for a TV or cooking utensils that should be it, and there should be no bickering or tears about this.
13. Say “thank you.”
How many times do you say “thank you?” Make this a habit in the house. Say thank you for everything that you receive as often as possible.
14. Appreciate those who serve.
It could be the neighbors son in the army, or someone you know who is serving with the Red Cross. Invite this people to your house and show appreciation for their kind and courageous deeds.
15. Let others share their experiences with them.
It shouldn’t just be about you. Allow others who value gratitude and contentment share their experiences with them. It could be your parents, relatives and friends.
Try to make these things a ritual and watch your kids become more grateful.
Featured photo credit: Twin Hug by Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr via flickr.com