Monday, November 11, 2013

TEACHING KIDS GRATITUDE

by Kate Collins
 

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?

9 comments:

Jessica said...

Recently, I moved 800+ miles south of my home state to take a new job. For over two months, I lived in a studio apartment without my husband and children. I flew home every two weeks or so to visit. Last week, they moved down here with me. It has been a very difficult move financially and emotionally for everyone. However, during those two months without my family, I realized that they are the most important piece of my life and I am truly grateful to have them. Peace and quiet only lasts for so long before you start missing your family.

Nancy said...

First of all, I'm grateful every morning when I wake up. At age 71 I no longer take that for granted. You are so right about teaching our kids by example.

Teachgiftedkids said...

The first thing on my list is to forward your note to my two daughters. Their first thing is probably to say: "Mom, you taught us to do these things a long time ago." But it never hurts to hear something again, especially when it's written so perfectly! Thanks for the reminder. Being the grandma, I'm glad to be reminded of these little tidbits again, too!

Kate Collins said...

Sometimes we need those reality checks to show us what's truly important in life. Good for you, Jessica.

Kate Collins said...

Isn't that a great feeling -- to know your kids learned gratitude? I hope others will read this and pass it along to others, too. It seems like our society has become very self-centered.

Vicki said...

For a couple of years I did a gratitude journal and would write down 1 or 2 things I was grateful for each day. I did insist (to myself) that I couldn't use the same "gratitudes". Maybe one grateful for the rain once a month even though the garden was happy every time.

It really was interesting how it changed my perspective on life when I did it consistently. I have a friend who very rarely sees the positive, only the negatives of life and is therefore very intolerant of the mishaps of life. I've been thinking I needed to go back to doing my gratitude journal to prop up my pollyanna outlook.

Now I just have to find the little notebook I was using and get going again. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

Liz Straw said...

I had cancer at age 25 and many years later I flat-lined after surgery. Inever take what I have in life for granted any more. I may not always be the best about outwardly showing my gratitute, but I've learned you don't need a lot in life to make you happy and I no longer worry so much about what is going to happen in the future. I am grateful for each day I have and I thank the Lord for all he has given me.

Rachelle21 said...

I made sure to send an e-mail to Candlewood to let them know about the help we received from their staff - whose names I had gotten. It was nice to write about something good that happened at a hotel vs something bad. I was also grateful for those strangers on our trip who helped by holding open doors or pushing Neil's wheelchair while I pushed other things. I am also grateful for finding Cozy Mysteries to read and the wonderful people who write them. Thanks to all the Cozy Chicks!

Aurian said...

What a great post, and I sure wish my stepchildren had learned this from their mother ... Of course I am biased, I love my boyfriend and he is a treasure, and appreciates everything I do for him and his children. But the girls themselves ...

I am grateful to my boyfriend for filling my life with more than books and internet friends alone.