The COVID-19 global pandemic has completely disrupted our everyday life and brought it to a halt. As parents, we must try to look at the bright side of this lockdown and make the most of this time to spend quality time with our kids. We should take this as an opportunity to take some time to teach our children valuable lessons like gratitude and optimism.
By focusing on cultivating such attributes in our children, we encourage them to maintain a healthy outlook into their teen years and adulthood. But gratefulness and thankfulness aren’t simple concepts that children inherently understand. They have to be taught and shown thankfulness and most importantly led by example.
Here are meaningful ways in which you can teach your kid to be thankful:
1. Focusing on the Positives Everyday
It is important for children to know that they have the power to assess situations, both good and bad, and can choose to have a good day and a positive experience. By weighing the consequence of every choice taken, children can recap the highlights of the day, focusing on the good and facilitating the opportunity for areas that require growth. It can start with jotting down the one thing they are grateful for, on an everyday basis. It could be as simple as the extra playtime they got.
2. Share your Personal Experiences
Parents should often recap their personal good experiences and opportunities for gratitude. When children watch parents acknowledge things we are grateful for, children will follow the lead of their parents and by showing your gratitude. Sharing your past experiences of receiving kindness will encourage children to go out of their way to share with and care for others.
3. Create Opportunities to Practice Gratitude
One sure way children can experience the joy of giving back is by facilitating opportunities where they can understand how their actions impact others and help them to recognize the importance of kindness and gratitude. One way to offer them first-hand experiences is by encouraging them to do volunteer work. This will teach them empathy and gratitude on a deeper level.
4. Practicing Sincere Gratitude
From a young age, we have a set of what we call magic words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ that we teach children to say. But most of the time, it is more about manners than a sincere display of gratitude. Although manners are important, sincerity is paramount. Make sure they know and what it is exactly, that it is to be thankful for not just out of habit. While addressing gratitude highlight things like someone’s time, skill, attention, etc. that matter the most.
5. Gift Experiences Over Material Goods
For a kid, there is no bigger joy than receiving gifts. But over-receiving may backfire and negatively impact a child by making them materialistic and causing material gifts to become expected, rather than appreciated. Instead of gifting experiences is a great way to refrain from over-gifting and allows children to enjoy an experience that lasts as a memory, adding to its unique value.
6. Lending a Helping Hand in Household Chores
Making chores a regular part of your child’s day fosters family bonding and teaches them to contribute to their family by offering a helping hand. Chores are a great way to encourage an appreciation for parents that can help shape the spouse and parent they grow up to be.
In simple ways like these you can teach children to focus on good things and can help bring their attention to their good fortune. Leading by example is the way to teach your children to show thankfulness and practice gratitude all year long.