Ensuring your children are always learning life lessons in the best way possible can be hard sometimes. As a parent, you want your child to develop into an amazing human being who contributes positively to the world. Part of learning how to be a good member of this world is feeling and expressing gratitude, and it’s our responsibility as the parent to make sure this happens.
Here are six effective methods for teaching your children gratitude.
~ Lead the Way
As your children learn to be grateful and learn how to express their gratitude, the biggest example of how they learn is actually you, the parent. It is vital that you fully understand the concept of gratitude on a personal level for the simple reason that you can’t teach something you don’t understand. It only makes sense that you must adhere to all the following advice yourself if you want and anticipate your kids to be grateful.
~ Teach Sharing
Autonomy for a child teaches her that she has a healthy level of control and independence. It allows her to explore the world around her at her own pace while learning how to make healthy decisions.
However, sharing is equally as important as independence. When a child shares, she is made aware that what she is sharing doesn’t just bring her joy. Rather, other people find joy in whatever she’s sharing.
Sharing encourages a child to understand the simple concept of borrowing. It’s easier to respect a toy that we borrow temporarily for the sake of sharing because, suddenly, there’s an expectation that the time spent with that toy is finite.
~ Keep Gratitude Journals
It’s simply not enough to feel grateful, although feeling grateful is a wonderful and important thing. In order to have the best, most positive place in our own worlds, we must also learn to appropriately express our gratitude. This shows others that their impacts on us are equally as important to us.
So what if your child is a beginner in expressing gratitude and doesn’t quite know how to articulate it yet? Start a gratitude journal! This is as simple as your child writing one to two sentences a night about what they’re grateful for right before they go to bed.
~ Teach Chores
Just as sharing teaches a child how to be accountable and grateful, so do chores. As parents, it can be too tempting to simply always pick up after our kids to keep the peace. Say, for instance, your kids sit down to watch TV after a long, hard school day. There’s peace and quiet in the house, but there are also shoes strewn about by the door, bookbags tossed down the hallways, damp towels still in the bathroom from their morning showers, and snack wrappers on the kitchen counters. At this moment, you have two choices:
~ Clean up their messes to enjoy the peace and quiet
~ Hold them accountable for their own messes.
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