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As we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving there seems to be a lot of everyone’s mind about being Thankful. Something about this time of year just makes everyone take a step back and wonder if they have appreciated the good things in their lives. If you are like most of us the answer is probably no. But that is okay. As adults we know how to fix this problem, but what about our kids? Do our kids know how to thankful? Sometimes teaching kids to be thankful can be a little hard.
I realized this past week that my son isn’t the most thankful person around and that is partly my fault. I grew up as a kid who had very little and I spoil my son because of it. Spoiled children are rarely thankful. They usually just expect it. I am not a parent who is okay with my kid always expecting things from me. Chances are you are not either.
Now I have come to the struggle of giving my child everything he wants and making sure he is thankful for what he has. I know there is a balance somewhere between the two. All I have to do is find it. So I searched the internet for tips on teaching kid to be thankful. Honestly, I found very little. But I didn’t learn a thing or two about my son.
I learned how he wasn’t very thankful and why he expected so much from me. I never made him say thank you when I gave him something, and I never act as if it is something he should be thankful for. He never works for what he gets either. The more I began to think about it the more I realized what was wrong with our system. So I created a new one. Now I have five tips on teaching kids to be thankful. I am positive they will help in your home as well.
Make Them Work For It
I made the mistake of always giving my son what he wanted without him putting in any hard work. His wish as my command. When I sat down and started thinking about why he wasn’t thankful, I began to think about what would make me not be thankful. The answer as simple.
I appreciate things more when I work for them. Seeing hard work pays off always make me cherish something a little more. If I continued to give him what he wanted without any effort on his part, he would never appreciate the things that he had.
Now if he wants something I make him work for it. I don’t reward him for things he should be doing around the house, such as cleaning up after himself. He gets rewards for helping me with things I usually do alone. Now when he gets rewarded he his thankful and more likely to take care of that object.
Always Say Thank You
Even though my son is now working for the things he wants, I still make him say thank you. I think it is important that kid learn good manners anyway. I also had a conversation with him about why we say thank you. It is important to let the person who went through the trouble giving us something that we appreciate them. He actually understood this very well.
My son has so many toys that he really isn’t thankful for another thing to add to the pile. I started telling him that some stuff he wants just has to wait to a later date. He is not happy about it, but I think this is key to teaching kids to be thankful. If they always get what they want then why would they appreciate anything?
We make a list of things we want now. It actually helps a lot when it is time to buy him a gift. Now when Christmas or his birthday comes around I already have a list of things he wants.
Again my son just has way too much stuff. We started donating old toys that were still in really good shape. He didn’t want to get rid of any of his toys at first, but I told them they were going to another child in need. When I explained that not all kids could have nice toys like his, he was more willing to give them away. And fewer toys means less mess for me as well.
Create A Gratitude Jar
I believe I saw this idea off of a movie or something. The basic idea is to take a jar and each night write one thing they are thankful for on a slip of paper. Place it in the jar and when they are feeling upset they can read from the jar. It makes them realize they have a lot of good things in their life. We make sure to include all kinds of things, such as people and events.
Teaching kids to be thankful can be very difficult at times. Children are a lot more headstrong than we give them credit for. The most important thing is to be consistent and lead by example. I have my very own gratitude jar as well.