How many times have you seen a child flailing around throwing a fit because he was told that he couldn’t have a toy while you are shopping?
If you are like most people you’ve seen it at least once! Gratitude is an important skill to learn to live a full life, not a life of entitlement and unhappiness. Here are some tips to teach gratitude.
1. Lead by example.
Kids learn by what they see. When parents preach at their kids about being grateful but have never shown their kids how to express appreciate for others, how are the children supposed to know how to be grateful? By praising children when they express gratitude, it not only gives them an example to follow, it will also encourage them to do it more often!
2. Tell your kids “no” and stick to your guns.
This is hard. No one likes to be told they can’t have something, but reality is, that’s life! No one is going to get absolutely everything they want!
Kids usually react to “no” in a few different ways: throwing a temper tantrum, pouting, or crying are just a few.
My kids jokingly call their best pout their “pouty bat face” (like Mavis in Hotel Transylvania). Arianna (our youngest who’s 4) likes to say to her brother, “ok David, that’s enough of the pouty bat face, time to put on your happy one”. They always end up giggling and usually whatever the pout was about is instantly forgotten!
If you want bratty kids, teach them to be entitled. There is nothing worse than a child who expects everything they demand simply because they can! Parents who never say “no” become weak to their children. Parental control is lost and soon the kids are in charge.
The answer is to set clear limits. When your child wants something that is not within those limits say no and stick to those set limits. You all will be happier in the long run.
3. Require your kids to “earn” some of their wants.
My kids have no greater sense of accomplishment than when they do a job to earn money to buy something that they want. I don’t pay them for 99% of the jobs that they do around the house, simply because we’re a family and I think we all need to help.
However, I always have a few jobs that they can earn a little money to buy the things on their wish list with. It takes them a lot of time to save up that money and they are so proud of the item that they buy with their own money.
4. Teach and expect your kids to use manners.
Parents do their best to teach their kids please and thank you. Have you taught other manners, such as teaching them how to give compliments to others (some kids are naturally gifted in this, others need help working on it), how to express appreciation for random gifts from others, how to hold the door open for others?
Kids that are taught manners appreciate when others extend those same manners to them.
5. Teach kids how to write thank you notes.
I know it’s easier to send a text or email than to write out a thank you note. By taking the time to actually write out a thank you and express their appreciation, kids will learn how to express gratitude in writing and when you receive thank you notes from others in the mail it is a good learning lesson for the kid!
6. Make a gratitude tree or jar.
A gratitude tree is a great way of teaching kids gratitude. We did this last year for the 30 Days of Thankfulness challenge. I made a tree on our bulletin board and each day the kids put something they were thankful for on a leaf and stuck it on the tree. This was a really fun project and by the end of the month they had to stretch their imagination a little to find new things to be thankful for besides naming a different toy everyday! It was also a great visualization of all of the blessings we have in our lives.
The same works for a gratitude jar. Instead of gluing leaves on, write down what you are grateful for on strips of paper. Fold them up and stick them in the jar. Take them out every once in awhile and enjoy all of those wonderful blessings!
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!