In today’s world, we have so many resources available to us. Not only are we lucky to have so much information and so many everyday advances at our fingertips to make our daily lives easier, but we also have a plethora of entertainment options ready for the choosing whenever we so please. As parents, it is only natural to want to do everything for your children and to provide them with all of the conveniences and commodities that you may not have had access to during your own childhood. Many generations are like this, and we always want to do better and give more – but there can be a downside.
In today’s world, television, mobile devices, music, the internet, you name it, is always readily available. It may be difficult for some parents to limit the time their children spend doing any of these given things, leading to a sense of entitlement and selfishness. Sometimes, these side effects occur by accident. You want your child to be happy so you provide them with the means to be happily content every moment of their lives, but this may lead to issues with gratitude and can really affect how they view others and the world around them. Without actually taking your children off the grid, there are some ways you can make sure that they learn to appreciate what they have in life and how to be humble, well-rounded people as they get older.
Be Their Role Model
Kids learn by mimicking. This means that they will learn to conduct themselves much in the same way that they see others around them do, and as a parent you are arguably your child’s biggest influence. In order to teach your children gratitude, you will need to actively practice showing gratitude yourself as well.
Be Sure to Thank Your Children
As a role model, you will need to actively show gratitude and be thankful for what you have as well as for what others do for you. When your child completes a task, does something nice without being prompted, or accomplishes something, make sure to thank them. Being on the receiving end of gratitude can help children to understand just how much this sort of sentiment really means to them and how much it must mean to other people as well.
|Importance of Thank You|
Do Some Teaching
As Americans, we are awarded many freedoms but it is more complex than it simply being the law. Teach your children about American history and those who fought for the freedoms we have today. There are many things that even adults take for granted that are not part of the realities other people around the world experience. It is important for kids to understand where their privileges come from and to be thankful for them instead of thinking that they are a given.
The Importance of “Thank You”
Many kids simply say ‘thank you’ because they are told to do so without really understanding why. Explaining what the sentiment means and how much weight it can really carry can help kids realize how integral showing thanks can be, whether it be in the form of a verbal “thank you”, a thank you note or even a gift.
Prompt You Kids to Give Back
Kids are more likely to follow through with something to the end if they have a part in coming up with the idea, just like how kids are more likely to try new foods if they have a hand in the meal prep. Ask your kids to do something nice for someone that might have a need that they can help with, or someone that cares for them, or has helped them in the past, and encourage them to do something nice for them.
Challenge Entitled Behavior the Moment it Happens
If your child expects something and is unhappy with being denied the thing they want, whether it be a treat, a toy or extra TV time, nip it in the bud as soon as you can. Ask your child what is really important. Ask them what it is they think they deserve and why. Making it a point of conversation can help children understand the true value of the things that they have as well as what the true value of their actions and beliefs are.
Learn to Love the Small Things
|Gratitude is the greatest of virtues|
Children can take certain things for granted because it is simply all they know. Point out little things that both you and your children should be thankful for and explain why. Your children may not realize just how valuable having clean water is and just how lucky they are to have it in order to survive. Having warm clothes and even amenities like kitchen appliances, toilets, heating, you name it! Remind your children that there are other kids out there who may not have any of these necessary things, let alone a toy to play with.
Teaching your child to be thankful and to show gratitude is not going to happen overnight, and it is not something you can teach with a single lesson. As a parent, you will have to make sure that you set a good example, too, so remember to be grateful as well.
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