Children have been demanding since ages. Being demanding is one of the childhood traits which makes them childish. So, it is natural. The only difference is the demands they make. Earlier, it used to be basic needs and these days it is above that, be it electronic gadgets, branded clothes or expensive toys. And it is natural for all the parents to provide their children whatever they want by ignoring the attitude of gratitude in children.
Are your children thankful for what they have? Not really, as they get more, they need more. This week we bought them a toy, they played with it and next week they want a new one. It is not their fault, they are getting this upbringing in a show off world. We want our kids to study in branded schools, wear branded clothes, attend lavish parties. They interact with us, society and environment and learn to follow the materialistic world.
It is our responsibility to inculcate the attitude of gratitude in children and guide them to follow good habits and basic values of life. We can teach them anything and help them develop good habits with encouragement, patience, and praise. Parents can set good examples by being thankful themselves. To encourage children to be thankful, you need to be thankful yourself first. We need to draw a line between providing for our child’s needs and spoiling our child.
Gratitude rhymes with “attitude” comes from the Latin word ‘gratus’. It means thankful and pleasing. When you feel gratitude, it is something by which you are pleased with what someone did for you. You do need not to pay back but at least you can tell them by thanking, how much they mean to you.
Here are some ways to inculcate an attitude of Gratitude in children:
Teach to Give and Share
Teach your children, how they can give to others according to the needs. Be it friends, siblings, relatives, cousins or helpers, encourage them to give and share. They can help you choose gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, festivals or any other occasion. They can donate their old books, clothes, and toys to the needy people. By this, they will learn to consider the needs and wants of others.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”- Mother Teresa
Be Thankful Yourself and Become a Role Model
Children follow us rather than our advice. Are you thankful for the life God gave you? Teach them to give thanks in all circumstances. Life is not about complaining every time. Encourage your child to stop you whenever you are complaining about any situation and vice-versa.
Include thanks in your prayers. Thanksgiving should not only be meant for a single day event. Every day should be a Thanksgiving Day. We should thank our parents for giving birth and raising us, God for blessing us with a beautiful life, family, friends, and teachers for making it more meaningful.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer”– Maya Angelou
Encourage to Say Thank You for Every Thing
Many people don’t have the common habit to thank others. Teach your children how to say “thank you”.
Look into the other person’s eyes, and tell them for what you are thankful, how you are pleased with their behavior or action. Address them with a big smile, so that they come to know how much they mean to you. Saying thank you is one of the basic good manners which needs to be taught right from the beginning.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives” – John F. Kennedy
Writing Thank You Notes
When someone gives your child a present, encourage to write a thank you note even if your child likes the gift lesser. Someone took out time and made effort to give your child a gift. Your child can write on a colorful thank you card, at least one reason why is he thankful for the gift. You may help younger kids to write the note and tell them to color. It will build another skill of creativity simultaneously with the attitude of gratitude in children.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” – William Arthur Ward
Teach the Value of Money and Life
Children compare themselves with others which have more than us. Teach them to see the people who have fewer resources than us, how they are managing their life and surviving with limited resources – and are still happy. Money is not everything in life, it is just a driving force which keeps you going. It is not important to be rich, but it is important to be happy and value life. Money can’t buy happiness so, we should not waste money on materialistic things, but utilize it in the best possible way. God gave us a beautiful life to live happily.
“It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy” – Unknown
Build a Family Tradition to Fill Gratitude Jar
We are blessed with ample of things in our life. Write on a slip each day for what you are grateful today, be it anything big or small. Keep a transparent jar in which you drop these slips daily. Once it is filled, you can open and read together. Make it a family tradition. Trust me you will see the positive change in your life and the joy that attitude of gratitude in children brings would be overwhelming.
“If you count all your assets, you always show a profit” – Robert Quillen
Wish you a Happy and Grateful Parenting!