Friday, November 21, 2014

10 Ways To Teach Kids Gratitude

We have incredibly blessed lives. When you really take the time to look at the world around you it's easy to see just how many blessings you have: a roof over your head, shoes on your feet and food on the table seem like insignificant things, but they are luxuries that many don't have. I think it's important for us to teach our kids gratitude for the things most take for granted. Here are 10 suggestions to help.

1. Service
The quickest way for anyone to really understand how much they have is to see how little others do. It also is very important for kids to learn to serve those less fortunate to learn empathy. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, coat drives - these all give you a chance to help others. Check with your local city to see what sort of things you can get involved with.

2. Talk At The End Of The Day
Each night, as you are getting the kidos ready for bead, ask them to tell you three things they are thankful for that day. It gives them a chance to really look at their day and recognize the great things that happened.

3. Write Gratitude Letters
Sit down with pen and paper and think of one person that has done a lot for you, either individually or as a family. Write that person a letter of thanks. You kids will appreciate them more and it will mean a lot to the person receiving the letter.

4. Show Gratitude Youself
Example is the best teacher. Talk about the things you are grateful for on a regular basis, and not just the big things, really focus on even the little things. The sunshine, a pretty flower, music and a warm cup of tea on a cold day. Show, by example, that even the little things in life are great blessings.

5. Let Your Kids Help
We have all been there. Kids come in and ask if they can help and your immediate reaction is no: or you painfully sit by trying to teach them to do a chore knowing that it would be so much easier if you just did it yourself. However, having your kids help around the house gives them an appreciation for all you do for them. It gives them an understanding of how much work goes into any given task and helps them to be even more grateful when you do it for them.

6. Resist The Urge To Give Your Kids Everything They Want
We want our kids to be happy and give them all the comforts they desire. However, giving them everything they want is doing a great disservice to them. When you allow a child to really want something, and work for it, they will appreciate it all the more than if it was just handed to them.

7. Find Teachable Moments
The thing about kids is, you never know when a moment to teach will arise, or when a teachable moment will stick - so you have to take every opportunity that you can. When your child can connect the concept of gratitude to a real-life situation it will mean more and stick with them longer.

8. Look on the Bright Side
It's human nature for most people to look at the glass half-empty from time to time and our kids pick up on this and learn this trait. Focus on looking at the bright side to every situation, even the bad ones. Having an "attitude of gratitude" even when things look down can help us realize that we have blessings, even in times of trouble. 

9. Write It Down
Keeping a gratitude journal really helps us to visualize just how many things we have to be grateful for. It also reminds us of things from our past that might otherwise be forgotten. Remembering all the good things that have come our way helps keep our gratitude strong.

10. Get Down To Grass Roots
Help your kids understand all that goes into the things that they have and this will help build an appreciation for it. The fact that a farmer has to get up early to milk the cows or gather the eggs that they had for breakfast, that someone had to work hard to develop and design the game that they are playing or that a contractor had to design and build the home they live in: Even visiting factories, to see the "behind the scenes" that goes into all of our day to day items is helpful. They will be more grateful for the things they have when they are educated on the amount of time, talent and work that goes into them.

Teaching our kids gratitude is a very important part of raising our kids, and it might even remind ourselves of how blessed we are in our lives. 

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