If you want to find Happiness,
November in USA is the month for a very important festival called Thanksgiving. Now the historical and cultural context of thanksgiving apart, I think the concept of consciously giving thanks and expressing gratitude is amazing! Since November is also the month we celebrate children’s day here in India, I thought a positive parenting post on ways we can teach our kids to be thankful and the meaning of gratitude is important.
In this age of nuclear families where most households have either one or two kids, attention, gifts, love and money is showered upon the kids. All of us tend to spoil our kids with trying to fulfill all their wishes, give in to their demands and live vicariously through them by giving them all that we didn’t get in our childhood.
But the danger lies in the fact that we forget to teach our kids to be thankful for these gifts and moments in life. [pullquote position=”right”]Babies are born selfish, where they only know how to demand whether for food or attention. Gratitude is a learned behavior.[/pullquote]
But in today’s busy times where parents are running a tight race teaching gratitude gets lost somewhere. The result, young kids who don’t know the value of simple joys in life, who take everything for granted, don’t know what gratitude means and who don’t appreciate the hard work and effort that goes in realization of each of their wishes and demands.
While you don’t need to keep harping on being thankful and watch every penny, there are some simple ways to inculcate the attitude of gratitude in kids.
3 Simple Ways to Teach Kids Gratitude
Model Gratitude in Your Own Life
You can teach only what you practice. So make sure that your kids see that you are grateful and thankful for what you have in life. Don’t be grumbling, complaining and bitter about your lot in life all the time. The only message the kids will get from this is that nothing ever is good enough.
Show and express gratitude for your children, for your spouse, your beautiful house and everything else in life. When ever an opportunity presents itself, give thanks. Whether it is writing thank you notes for kids’ birthday gifts, saying thank you to our household help or the lift man or the vegetable vendor. While you may think your thank yous don’t mean anything to these people, it matters a lot to those little minds who are soaking up the attitude of thankfulness from you.
Create little rituals of thankfulness
One great way is to practice writing a gratitude journal. Make it a family ritual and write all the things you are thankful for. For kids you could ask them to take a look at all their toys and tell you which ones they love the most and why.
If writing a gratitude journal is too much for you then create small little rituals that will incorporate gratitude in your every day life. For example one of my favorite things while tucking Sam to sleep is to ask her the best part of her day and whether she wants to thank god for it.
Another ritual I like to follow is to pick a person in our life sometimes it is my husband or my mother and me and Sam talk about why we love them so much. All those lovely things that they do for us and their unique qualities that makes them so special and close to our hearts.
Think beyond material things
While we may express our thanks for a lot of material possessions in our life like the house we live in, the food we eat, the car we possess etc. , it is also important to teach kids to value the intangibles in life.
Being thankful for the presence of elders in our life, the togetherness of our family, the loyalty of our friends, the unselfish love of our dog, a beautiful day and a lovely holiday full of memories is very important. These are all experiences you need to be thankful for and teach your kids to appreciate as well.
Be Thankful for What You Have, You’ll Have End Up Having More
If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough.
What are you going to teach your kids to say thank you for?