People realize the goodness in their lives when they live a life of gratitude. With a grateful heart, you can focus on the positive elements of your past, appreciate the gift of the present moment, and look forward to the future with positivity and hope.
As grateful adults, we realize the value of passing on the gift of gratitude to our children. Kids who are appreciative find more value in their connections with their peers and their community and find less satisfaction in material things. Children who are less materialistic are more self-aware, driven and disciplined compared to kids raised with a sense of entitlement. It’s grateful children that grow to be contented adults who discover the truest sense of success.
Whatever age your child is, fostering gratitude in them shouldn’t be forced. They will learn to be grateful through your words, your actions and your guidance. From toddler to teen, it is never too early or too late to promote gratitude in your child.
Here are my top 3 tips to guide your kids towards a life of gratitude.
Lead them by example.
Be their model for expressing gratitude. Say “thank you” and “please.” Be vocal about how thankful you are for little blessings and life’s sweet surprises.
Explain to your kids why you are emailing thank you notes to all your sister’s girlfriends who helped in the success of the surprise baby shower you organized for her. Ask your daughter to help you bake cookies for the neighbor who fed her goldfish while you were out-of-town last weekend.
The good manners and acts of appreciation you teach your kids today will be the foundation on which they build a lifestyle centered on gratitude.
Have them work for things they want.
When you tell your kid that he needs to earn the game or toy he wants by either saving his allowance or doing extra chores, he will learn the value of the dollar and the actual amount of work it takes.
Kids who aren’t spoiled with everything and are expected to work towards buying the things they want learn to appreciate what they already have. Having them work for the things they want gives them a realistic perspective of needs vs. wants. Your kids will start to prioritize the things they need, develop restraint, and start to make better choices.
Share your day’s lows and highs.
Sit down with your child and take turns talking about something that happened that wasn’t so great followed by something awesome that happened that day. Sharing your day’s unhappy lows and joyful highs teaches kids and adults alike to always look for a silver lining.
“I was sad today because I scraped my knee playing tag during recess. But I was super happy that the nurse gave me a Band-Aid with Mario!”
Count your blessings. At some point, we will all start to see only the presence of good without seeking the absence of the bad.