Recently, I overhead one mom say, “I can never do enough.” She was frustrated because her children have high expectations of her talents, her time, and her generosity. Even though she loves providing good things for her kids and their friends, she frequently finds herself drained from the effort, feeling unappreciated. Sound familiar? Here are some tips for both parents and kids.
1) First, teach your kids the definition of gratefulness. The word means “full of gratitude” and comes from the Latin work “gratis” which means “thankful”. Grateful people appreciate those who do things for them and the things they have. A grateful person is a pleasure to be around compared to a complaining, unthankful person who is never happy and takes everything and everyone for granted. Explain what “taking for granted” means too. It means to expect someone or something to be always available to serve in some way without thanks or recognition.
Also share a bit of history with them. Talk a bit about what so many did to give us the freedoms we enjoy today in our country. There’s so many stories about thankfulness in history. People worked hard and appreciated what they had, even in the poorest of circumstances.
2) Be the role model: Express gratefulness yourself. Let them see you writing and/or giving thank you notes. You are a great influence on your kids.
3) Praise your children: When your child completes a task, thank them and show how much you appreciate them - especially if they voluntarily do something without being asked!
4) Ask your kids to give back: Prompt them to do something nice for someone else.
5) Nip discontent in the bud: Ask them what is really important and why they think they deserve the extra thing. This discussion helps to bring value to the things they already have.
6) Learn to love the little things: This is especially helpful in distressing situations. Even in a struggle, there is always something to be thankful for. Happy is the person who finds delight in small acts of kindness or the beauty of a sunny, spring morning.
7) Watch this 6-minute video dealing with the difference between rights & privileges.
1) Appreciate the people in your life
Can you name at least 5 people who did something good for you today?
What do you think it means to “take people for granted”?
2) Say “please” and “thank you” when you ask for and receive something from someone.
Your face and tone of voice will show if you are sincerely thankful. There’s a big difference between asking nicely and demanding something from someone. They can tell.
3) Enjoy what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t have. (Discontented people are usually never happy.)
How can you be grateful, even when you don’t have much?
What do you think it means to “look at the glass half-full”?
4) Take care of your belongings. If you appreciate what someone gives you, you’ll take good care of it instead of trashing or wasting it.
How can you take care of clothes, toys, and other belongings?
If you borrow something, why should you return it in good condition?
5) Write thank you notes. When you take the extra time to do this, it means so much to the giver. You can even add a picture you’ve drawn or a photo as an extra touch.
Can you give 3 examples of WHEN it would be a good time to write a thank you note?
Why do you think people enjoy receiving thank you notes?
6) Watch this 11-minute video.
(Ideas for this post used with permission from Character First Education.)
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CAN YOU FIND ALL 12 WORDS?
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