First things first, I do not personally have children. I know that I have interacted with many of my friends’ children, but that does not equate to parenting. Because of that, I don’t have specific tips from firsthand knowledge. So I’ve done the next best thing – which is crowdsourcing. Without further delay, here are some ways you can teach your children about gratitude.
Before we begin, let’s start with some basics i.e. differences between children and us adults. Unlike us, children have the advantage of living with curiosity. They learn many things in life, are naturally gifted naturally with intuition, and open toward everything they find until someone teaches them otherwise.
Parents have a role with helping children develop their conscience, without which they can’t learn about self-esteem and moral values. Here are some easy ways to incorporate instilling the virtue of gratitude in your children.
One: Lead By Example
Whether you like it or not, children are imitators. What you say and do every day reflect what you think about the world. And your children will learn from you! Quit the whole “do as I say, not as I do” rhetoric.
Yes, they are children. Yes, it’s easy for us to dismiss them. No, you shouldn’t. Sometimes children might ask questions that are silly to us, but it does come out of a place of curiosity for them. Teach them respect by listening and answering their questions, even if they are sometimes annoying.
Three: Show Them The Natural World
Children are naturally curious, especially about the physical world. Since they are trying to learn about their role on this earth, you should teach them. Teach them that all things happening in the world are connected to each other. Put it all in perspective.
Four: Be Of Service To Others
One way of developing gratitude is to show the joy that can be brought about by helping other people. Even simple things such as holding a door for an elderly person can show them how others appreciate us and our actions. You would be surprised how many times a simple gesture like this can occur in your normal day activities.
Five: Share Your Happiness
While parents are meant to be the disciplinarians, especially in “ethnic” cultures, don’t let the idea of respect get into your head either. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a child – won’t it be better having a nice childhood full of joy and happiness? In the same way, ensure your children know that adults also experience the full repertoire of the human experience.
Six: Put It In Writing
This tip is not just for children, but even as adults. In my line of work I always encourage my clients to write things down, for it gives clarity, even if we don’t see it at first. If you get your children to write down what they are grateful for, they will appreciate them more.
Seven: Adapting To Less Than Ideal Scenarios
Okay, the fact of the human experience is that things sometimes do go wrong. A lesson for kids and adults alike is how we react to them. If you are able to keep calm and not panic when something does go wrong, your children will learn how to have a cool head as well.
Eight: There’s Good In Everyone
This one is also not just for children, but for adults too. More often than not, we tend to see things in a binary manner – something or someone is either good or bad. I’d urge you not to think of things that way. What I often say when there is a clear antagonist in a situation is that everyone is here for a reason – sometimes the reason is to teach us patience. Being a Christian, my thinking is that everyone is loved by God. Even if you’re not religious, try and see the best in all situations.
So, what does this post teach us about teaching our children about gratitude. Firstly, and this only came out as a revelation after I’ve crowd-sourced – is that us adults should also check our attitude. Once we get in the right frame of mind, we are then in a position to teach our children about these issues. Hope all is well!
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