Teaching Children Gratitude
By: Vidhya Shailesh, SoulKids® Program Manager, www.soulkids.org
17 December 2018
Gratitude is an essential life skill for children and adults alike. It is the ability for us to be thankful for all that life presents to us. It is the ability to appreciate whatever comes our way. Gratitude is a positive emotion that can help us become happier and healthier. It is a powerful force that lays the foundation for us to attract more good into our lives. Practicing gratitude is a skill we must inculcate not just in our children but in ourselves too. Gratitude can benefit children and adults in many ways. A person who is grateful often does not compare himself with others and is happy with himself.
As parents, we strive to provide the best upbringing for our children. Whether that means sending them to the best school there is, or supporting their education with classes, extra-curricular activities, the best clothes that we can afford and anything else that we can provide for them. Within our capacity we stretch to provide them the best that we possibly can. However, a parents struggle is just that – a parents struggle. A child growing up with all that they have received starts to believe they are entitled to have all that they do. They start to assume the parents will support them no matter what. The parents struggle is not what a child sees. All they see is what they are provided.
Inculcating the attitude of gratitude from a young age will ensure children have the ability to appreciate the many things in their own lives. Gratitude helps us foster better relationships, improves physical health, psychological health, enhances empathy and compassion, helps you get better sleep, improves self-esteem and mental strength among many other things.
Here are some ways we can encourage children to develop an attitude of gratitude.
1. Encourage the use of the magic words please and thank you.
2. Encourage empathy and teach them to help someone less fortunate than they are.
3. Teach them to openly appreciate and compliment others.
4. Appreciate the little things that they do for you and reciprocate your gratitude for their actions.
5. Children learn by imitation, express gratitude in your day and do it often in front of them too.
6. Share your gratitude – set a specific time in the day when you talk to them about the many things they are thankful for. It could be a bedtime routine or on the dinner table or another time best suited to you.
7. Encourage them to not just show appreciation but also be kind and considerate in their actions.
8. Volunteering and giving of your time, efforts and support is a great way to inculcate gratitude in them. Perhaps you can make it a family activity.
9. Encourage them to differentiate between their needs and their wants.
10. Be patient. While it might seem like instilling gratitude is hard, know that in time they will learn it.
Christmas is a wonderful time for giving. Encourage children to give or share with those less fortunate. Giving can be of your time, your efforts, your resources or money. Appreciate any efforts they take and encourage them no matter how small their efforts are. In time, the attitude of gratitude will become a way of life for them.
Our SoulKids® programs are designed to give children the skills required to create their own happiness and success. And gratitude plays a very important part in this. In our group classes, we encourage children to appreciate the differences among each other and see each other’s strengths. Rather than focusing on what they have, they learn to be thankful for the same things. Children learn many other valuable life-skills in a fun, positive and engaging environment. They always leave happy, excited, positive and wanting more.
To find out more about our programs, please visit www.soulkids.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We offer group programs for different age groups and even offer one-on-one coaching if your child requires specific help and guidance.
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