With all the luxuries of today’s modern word, kids are beginning to expect more (the latest phone, a new toy at each Target run, etc.), and we are seeing the sense of entitlement rise among children. So how do we raise our children to be thankful for what they have? These three tips below will help foster an attitude of gratitude in your children.
- Look for the good in situations: The next time something doesn’t go your way, look for the positive in the situation. Ex. Soccer practice got canceled because of rain, now you can spend the day as a family. When you look for the good in situations you are teaching your children to live a life of gratitude even when things aren’t going well.
- Make gratitude a part of your routine: Practice sharing what you are grateful for every day. You could make it part of your routine to each share something you are grateful for each night at the dinner table or as you tuck your child into bed. Or you could make a gratitude journal. Teach your children to focus on what they have to be thankful for instead of what they don’t have.
- Encourage instead of praise: Praise seems like a good thing, but studies show that excessive praise makes children entitled and selfish. Praise puts too much focus on the outcome making children expect something, verbal praise or a reward, for their behavior. (ex. “Good job! I’m so proud of you.”) When we instead offer encouragement, (ex. “You really studied for that test and you got an A on it! You did it!”) our children learn to be more grateful for what they achieve. For more on why we should offer encouragement vs praise, check out this post).