As adults, most of us understand what it’s like to be appreciative for what we have. Most likely, you’re trying to raise your child to become conscious and aware of how blessed and fortunate they really are. I’ve been working on my children and I’m happy to share 7 simple ways to raise a grateful child.
1. Lead by example. In any and every social setting, especially in front of your children, show gratitude. A simple “please” or “thank you” speaks volumes. Say it to them as often as you can. If they see you doing it [repeatedly], they will do the same. Also, remember to never diss or talk bad about a gift someone gives you that you may not have liked. They are watching this too!
2. Community service. If your children have never performed any community service, they should. Serving others is a first-hand experience with giving your time and talents to someone else as a blessing. My children have said to me several times, unsolicited, how appreciative they are for the life that they have, as they could very well be on the receiving end of those services.
3. Set expectations. Whether its a trip to the store, or a birthday or Christmas, set limits about what is to be expected when shopping and buying gifts. If you choose to, as the child grows older, you can use key words when shopping like, “Today is ‘buy’ day.” or “Today is just a ‘look’ day.” The key to this and most anything is consistency.
4. Give give give. Make giving a habit. When my children’s toy boxes and closets begin to spill over, we don’t just grab and bag things up, we TALK to them about what’s happening. We explain to them that their older clothes and toys would be much more appreciated by someone less fortunate. As I like to tell my kids when I am purging their items, “It’s time to make room for more blessings.”
5. Make gratitude a BIG DEAL. I wrote an article once called The Jar of Awesome. In January, you start out with an empty jar and fill it with notes about all of the awesome things that happened to you throughout the year. Then, on New Year’s Eve next year, open it up and reflect on all of the awesome things that happened to you. This is great for singles, couples, as well as families. Give it a try!
6. Take every opportunity to show them how blessed they are. If you happen to see someone on the corner holding a “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” sign or on the sidewalks panhandling, seize this moment to talk to your children about how fortunate they are to have food, clothing, shelter, etc.
7. Be patient. Children grow and develop at their own pace. Seeing the results that we want may not happen as quickly as we might wish. So, it’s always best to start working on shaping and grooming our babies as soon as possible.
BMWK – How do you teach your child to be grateful?
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