There certain traits which seems as though they are essential to live a content, healthy life. One of them is gratitude. Instilling gratitude in your children from their early years is important to ensure that they understand and apply the essence of gratefulness in their lives later on.
But how exactly can you encourage gratitude in kids? Here are some ways:
Be a role model.
Young children are quick learners. They usually tend to pick up actions and reactions from their parents because they want to be like them. A great way to foster gratitude is to model gratitude to your kids. Try praising and being thankful for small gestures and gifts to show your kids that is important to appreciate the small things in life. Also help your kids in reciprocating gestures or appraising kindness so that are able to exercise gratitude and value the benefits that others provide them in terms of the intrinsic and extrinsic value of those gestures, the people providing them and the cost to whoever provided them. Thus, practicing what you preach is a great way to start off.
Include activities which promote gratitude.
Small exercises which promote mindful thinking can prove to be a great tool in promoting good habits. Bedtime is a good time to start working at. Try spending a few moments with your kids to talk to them about all the things they are thankful for. You could ask them to list down all the things which they are grateful for on that particular day. Try teaching them that it does not have to be big things, even little things like having their favorite snack that day, or great weather that morning can all be part of their gratitude list. You can also try putting up a gratitude board, and allow your child to pin up one thing they’re grateful for each day. This can serve as a constant reminder and be a great reinforce for them too.
Encourage helping others.
Helping out people and extending generosity are two good ways to inculcate generosity in your kids. When kids feel like they are providing benefits to someone or are actually lending a hand can help build emotional connections and improve social responsibility. Be an example for them, and treat opportunities to help others out something to be grateful about. They should ideally understand that helping others out should be a priority in relationships. Encourage your kids to be thoughtful, considerate and helpful towards others. Any opportunity to do good, should be treated as a privilege.
Allowing your children to make choices themselves gives more room for gratefulness. When they do things they enjoy or love, they are more likely to be thankful and will be more comfortable inviting support from others. Try to exercise a democratic parenting style, incorporating flexibility yet staying firm on some ground rules allows for celebration of children’s autonomy in the healthiest way.
Limit consumption of mainstream media.
Try to ensure that your kids are consuming social media and television in constructive ways. Try introducing them to channels which provide creative content such as arts and crafts, science channels, sports etc. limiting consumption of media smartly can prevent young children from falling prey to influences which discourage the development of authenticity, personal satisfaction and positive social interactions. Instead try to keep them engaged and active outside of gadgets and technology to foster their skills and unique personality.
Celebrate intrinsic goals.
While we often tend to chase material things, it is equally important to give your kids a sense of intrinsic achievements. Try to promote thankfulness for intrinsic, social and emotional goals as well. This is very important in the long run to maintain fulfilling relationships and grow a healthy sense of self contentment. Thus promote goals which boost personal growth, social relationships, and emotional intelligence and to amplify the gratefulness, teach your kids to be thankful towards anyone who helps them reach their goals.
Focus on what matters.
Having a sense of direction or focus in life is extremely important. As a parent it’s essential to try and help them find a cause or path which is important to them or resonates with them. Try exposing them to new social issues or try building upon things which already bother them. Try doing this through meaningful conversations or bedtime stories about social issues. No cause is too big or small, and prioritizing change, equality and social welfare in general from an early age is important in raising kids who understand that they must give back to society. In the long run, as they connect to issue which resonate to them in the bigger picture of life, they are more likely to be grateful for their opportunities and experiences and the ability to give back to society.
Raising grateful children isn’t just important for familial bonds, but it is also crucial on a societal level. The world is becoming more and more integrated, and in today’s age, raising tolerant, kind and grateful kids is a lot more important than it ever was before. So, incorporating these mindful ways into your kids life is a great place to begin.