Hi Vonkids Parents, today we are going to talk about raising grateful children.
It has come to my attention as I see more and more kids publicly and even in my own home… that kids can fall into a habit of demanding things like they deserve them.
“Mom, I want that and that and that…please, it’s just one thing…”
Of course, I would love to buy everything my kids want but how are they going to appreciate what they already have if I buy them e-very-thing?!
So I took a look at myself, what am I saying and doing for my kids to be demanding things like that, and yes I can objectively see some of my mistakes like bribing them with material things to reinforce certain behaviours instead of using non-material things. Also going to the grocery shopping and buying them stuff just to have a quiet and peaceful shopping trip….sound familiar?
Parents, first we have to be congruent with our thoughts and actions, as the example we give them will be the best way to teach them. So here are some tips I’m going to put into action and hope they help you too if you are experiencing similar issues.
1. We are expecting our children to be grateful but as parents we need to be role models for our children and set the example. Let’s be aware of our words when we in a negative situation and try to take a positive approach. Instead of complaining, let’s choose to be grateful and show our kids that we can appreciate the challenges as a learning opportunity.
2. Involve our kids in daily activities, let them contribute, even if that means a mess. They will learn the true meaning of service by practicing and learning how to do things, by contributing they will learn that what they do matters and it’s really important for the little ones, so they start feeling confident and feeling that their contributions in life are important. They will feel grateful for what they have and begin to feel less in need of yet more “stuff”.
3. Show gratitude towards our kids, let’s show gratitude towards their personalities, their humour, their contributions. Let’s make them feel the love and how grateful we are that they are part of our families. It’s important that we show this gratitude not only towards them, but also toward our partners and our friends.
4. Let’s not label our kids as ungrateful and let’s choose to empathize with them. It’s really hard as a parent, not to say it when the kids are with a demanding attitude or comparing to others, but that’s when we need to understand their feelings and make them aware of the place where they stand, explain what is enough and what is to be lucky. They will then start to have a sense of gratitude rather of feeling they have less.
5. Show them perspective, this is a tricky one because we do not want to make them feel guilty for what they have, but rather grateful. My parents often took my brother and I to places where we could volunteer, it could be the hospital, a retirement home for example. It can be as simple and spending the time with them to create something, like some baking, and taking it to those who need it more. Not only are you spending quality time with your kids to create something together, better still, you are doing it for someone else who will appreciate it.
6. Make gratitude and giving a habit. We can start by singing grateful songs for the little ones every mornings, or asked them at night 3 things they were grateful for during their day. Making it a habit will help us have grateful kid’s growing up. Of course this doesn’t mean they won’t be ungrateful at times, but it would be easier as they develop to take the time to appreciate what they have and what they can give back to those who are not as lucky as they are.
I personally find a strong correlation of gratefulness to happiness. When we see how important we are to our loved ones, how lucky/blessed we are, how much we have, it gives one a feeling of happiness, of fulfilment.
At Vonkids we have a month were we teach about being grateful, so we as a team can raise grateful children.
We would love to hear about you, if you have any gratefulness activities you would like to share, please comment below.
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Have a wonderful week!