Gratitude is one of the most important qualities that a person should imbibe right from a young age. Being grateful teaches us to be thankful for all the things that we are blessed with. Apart from thankfulness, it also teaches us to respect others, and value the things and people around us, regardless of how small they are. If you want your kids to become good human beings when they grow up, you have to teach them to be grateful right when they are young.
Here are some simple tips that you can follow to show them the importance of gratitude, being polite & thankful to others, and having a positive outlook toward life.
- Teach them to keep a count of their blessings
It is a great idea to spend 15 to 30 minutes every day with your child to teach him to count the blessings in his life. You can maintain a gratitude journal for your kids, and ask them to write down the top 3 or 5 things that they are grateful for in their lives, daily. This will help them understand how blessed they are.
Having supportive parents, being able to play for long hours, being gifted with their favorite toys, having their grandparents around, etc. are some things that are invaluable, and they should know that they should be thankful for these things.
- Make them do simple household work
We may be quite harsh when we say this, but most of the time, parents spoil their kids by giving them whatever they ask for. If you want your kids to learn gratitude, good manners, and politeness right from a young age, you should make them earn the things they want. You can ask them to clean the table after dinner has been served, or arrange the dishes after being washed.
Simple chores like cleaning their study cupboards, placing their clothes neatly in the cupboard, etc. are some things that they have to do themselves. When you do everything for them, they don’t appreciate the value of these chores. As a result, they don’t feel empathy towards their fellow human beings, when they grow up.
- Practice gratitude yourself!
Kids are great learners. If you want to teach them gratitude, you should practice that quality in your real life. You should always try to be gentle and polite to all the people you meet. You should always make it a habit to say please and thank all people who help you in your daily lives, like the waiters at the hotel, security personnel in your building, cab drivers, vendors in the market, your domestic help, and so on. When kids see that are you being thankful to the people around you, they naturally develop that habit as they grow up.
- Communicate about gratitude
The best way to teach your kids gratitude is to strike a conversation with them about that quality. You need to ask them questions about gratitude and thankfulness to know what they feel about a gift they have received. You can ask them to notice the things they are grateful, for and then ponder on the facts about why they have been blessed with those things.
You can also ask them about their emotions when they receive a particular gift and what they would like to do, in return, for the person who gifted them. All of these will trigger the child to be thankful for the gifts he has in his life. It will also encourage him to appreciate the gift in a better way than before.
- Encourage them to give back to society
Right from a young age, kids need to be taught about their responsibility of giving back to society in whatever way they can. You should encourage them to take part in service projects and other community-driven assignments at school or college so that they can help others. If they are too young, you can encourage them to donate their old toys, clothes, and books to orphanages. You can take them to these orphanages and old age homes to show them the reality of the world. This way, they get to understand how privileged they are, and that they cannot take things for granted anymore.
- Help them find happiness even in the small things
It is very important to teach kids that every morning is a new chance to live their lives. You can teach them to appreciate the beauty in small things like the sunrise, sunset, bloom of a flower, rain, breeze, etc. They will learn they are blessed enough to see these beautiful sights, making them better individuals. Helping a smaller kid with his homework, running errands for an older adult in your building, helping you with small work in the kitchen, doing his work independently, etc. are small things that invoke great joy and gratitude in kids.
- Teach them to look at the positive side and always
Sometimes, your kid may experience rough phases in his life. It is natural for him to be bogged down. During these times, you have to be at his side to tell him how grateful he should be that situations didn’t turn worse. For example, if he is heartbroken because of the death of his pet, you can cheer him up by telling him that your family was grateful to have the pet around you for a few years. You can also explain to him that now the pet is resting in a better place. You can always encourage him to retrospect on the events and be grateful for the experiences rather than being heartbroken about the consequences.
If you want your kids to become grateful, you should make gratitude a habit in your homes. Keep telling each other every day about things you are grateful for and how privileged you are compared to many others in the world. As a parent, you should be grateful for everything in your life, and be polite with all, to set the perfect example for your kids.