I read an article in my local newspaper this week that really caught my attention. The gist is that if you want your children to grow up to be loving, humble, caring, pleasant adults, they have to learn gratitude.
I’ll bet you know kids who could use a huge lesson in that, don’t you? They’re the ones with a sense of entitlement that makes them spoiled, inconsiderate snobs. And often their parents are shaking their heads in bewilderment, wondering where they went wrong.
Here are ways to make sure your kids don’t end up that way.
1. Say please and thank you to your kids as often as possible. Kids are natural mimics. They get it.
2. Teach them early to write thank you notes. I’m sure you’ve been on both ends at some point. It’s not until you give someone a special gift and don’t hear a word back that you realize the importance of saying thanks. So instill this in them while they’re young.
3. Make verbal statement about things you appreciate, even small things like “I’m so glad the rain held off until we got home.” “I really appreciate your help on this.” It helps them understand the concept of appreciation.
4. Start a family gratitude journal. Make it be a nightly routine. One thing that everyone is grateful for that day. Maybe you’ll only do it for a week, or maybe it’ll become something they look forward to. In any case, it will teach them to look at life through different lenses.
5. Do a service project together. Buy Thanksgiving food for the local food pantry or gifts for the angel tree together. It will teach kids that the world exists outside themselves, and they’ll appreciate what they have by understanding what others don’t.
Personally, I’ve started saying out loud things I’m grateful for each day. It makes me appreciate small things that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, and then I truly feel blessed.
Today, I’m grateful for everyone reading this blog. What’s the first thing on your list?