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15 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Be Grateful

15 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Be Grateful

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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