The Attitude of Gratitude: Tips on bring up your Child to be Grateful
In today’s world where instant gratification seems to be the mantra of the day, being thankful for what we have seems to be losing its sheen. This is true even with kids. You teach your child the basic manners like saying please, sorry and thank you as soon as he learns how to speak. So much so, that it becomes almost like an automated response for your child. But saying a half hearted thank you is very different from being appreciative of the things that he has been blessed with. Living life with an attitude of gratitude is one of the best lessons that you can teach your child to ensure that he leads a happy life.
Here are some suggestions
1. Don’t cater to every whim: In today’s time’s greater disposable income combined with lesser time with kids, has proved to be a lethal combination. It ensures that your child gets whatever he wants as soon as he spells it out. Follow some restraint while buying things for your child. Give him a chance to appreciate what he has and learn the value of things. Also don’t see every outing as an excuse for him to buy things.
2. Let him be thankful for the abundance in his life: Teach them to appreciate the fact that he has an abundance of food and other necessities that are sometimes so taken for granted. Encourage your child to say a simple line in gratitude before meals. Read or show your child age appropriate news pieces of people who are less fortunate than him and the difficulties they have to endure to get the things that seems too trivial even to acknowledge.
3. Practice what you preach: A single action is more powerful than a thousand words. So when your child sees you thank your domestic staff or a person who opened the door for you, you are teaching him not to take people for granted.
4. Involve the whole family: Make gratitude part of your life. Have a ritual, may be at bed time or at dinner time where you recount five things to be grateful for that day. For instance, you could say that you are grateful for your little boy (him) who helped you do the dishes and slowly nudge him towards things that he can be grateful for that day. Be consistent and you will slowly begin to see the change in perspective in your child.
5. Help him say thank you: If your child receives a gift, instead of forcing him to say a half hearted thank you, help him make a thank you note saying how he enjoyed the gift.
6. Let him see the ‘real’ world: Involve him in some service programmes connected to an orphanage or special children’s school, and let him interact with the inmates and get an idea about the kind of effort they put in to do simple things like read and write. This will enable him not to take his health and body for granted. Give your child the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of nature and marvel in its beauty. This will make them more appreciative of the natural resources and the need to conserve and protect it.