Like any skill or habit, helping your children develop a sense of gratitude in life takes practice. The more your children develop a habit of being kind, polite and thankful,the more it’ll become ingrained into their character. Do note; helping them become aware of how blessed they are in their lives won’t come overnight. They need to see, understand, and take in everything happening around them to develop a sense of gratitudeand act accordingly.
If you are a parent who wants to raise children that are not self-centered and see things outside the box, read the following tips on teaching kids how to be thankful to get inspired:
Lead by Example
Like it or not, as parents, we’re in the spotlight 24/7 as kids look up to us, learn from us, and pick up our gestures, opinions, mannerisms, etc. We hope they won’t pick up some of the worst characteristics (all those times we yell, do bad things, curse, and whatnot.) Their learned behavior, mental and emotional development, development of their central attitudes, and core values, are our primary responsibility as parents. It is why the only thing we can do to help them grow into sensible, sensitive, kind, and aware individuals, is to lead by example.
Let your kids grow up with parents who are not only grateful for what they have but also express it frequently – not just verbally – but also in the way they live.
Exposethem to Reality
For the most part, people (not just kids) have no idea what’s happening outside the bubble the media has created for them. Individuals like these rarely ever understand and empathize with the reality of things, with people suffering, with poverty, and problems that are not their own.
To help your kids understand how things are and cultivate a healthy attitude towards things in their lives, expose them to reality. Take them to poverty-stricken areas of your city, encourage them to volunteer in shelters in your community, get them into the habit of donating their clothes to those less fortunate, etc. Educate them by both talking and reading to themand introducing them to real life.
Do Not Spoil Them
Don’t be the type of parents who feed their children’s ungrateful habit of getting everything they want. Instead, make them earn things, say “no” from time to time, teach them the value of money and material goods they have easy access to (as opposed to those who don’t.) If you think“denying” your kids things they can have is insensitive, it’s the opposite – by teaching them to earn stuff, you are encouraging the growth of grace and gratitude in them.
Teach them to Be Generous and Share
Sharing is caring as they’d say. Being generous doesn’t mean sharing (i.e., passing along) your leftovers; it’s giving on a sacrificial level. Real generosity means empathizing with other people’s situations, understanding them, and giving everything in your power to help those less fortunate. Kindness and generosity towards others is a massive step toward gratitude for everything you’ve got.
When you start teaching your children real values early on, you are giving them the opportunity to become thankful for everything in their lives sooner than they usually would. Start educating them early on, and you’ll see beautiful individuals develop right before your eyes.