A red heart drawn onto brown paper with a piece ripped showing the word gratitude
Parenting

Helping our children feel gratitude

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There is the school of thought that the more we appreciate what we have, the happier we will be, regardless of what we end up with. If you believe this and you have children, then it can be difficult to impart this wisdom onto them. Children tend to run instinctively, push boundaries, and expect a lot of the world to give them whatever they want or need. That’s just the children who are well-behaved! It’s only natural whilst children are learning and growing for them to make mistakes, and not think too hard about the consequences.

This is a natural progression, and as their brains grow their actions mature. It’s still good practice to help children understand gratitude, and for them to appreciate everything that they have. So here are a couple of ideas that can help you encourage gratitude in your children. To help them to think carefully about how their actions affect others.

Consequences

It’s easy to talk to children and expect them to understand what you are telling them. However, it doesn’t always make sense to them. So showing the children the consequences to their actions, and how quickly things can change, will help them understand. Help them learn that being ungrateful, or uncaring about possessions, either theirs or other people’s, is important. It doesn’t have to be too complicated or serious, little reminders here and there. The odd nudge in the right direction, and explaining to them in a kind way, can help it sink in and make sense. Just remember children can’t fully understand every situation at a young age, but showing them how lucky they are, and encouraging them to take opportunities such as auschwitz school trips that they may be offered, can really help them see how lucky they are to have the opportunities they do.

A red candle alight surrounded by words
Humans have so many emotions, children often need a little help managing them all.

Experience

Over time children will experience other people showing gratitude towards them, and how that makes them feel overall. They will experience the happiness they feel when they are grateful for everything that is going on in their lives. Even if they aren’t necessarily mature enough to fully understand it will stick, and hopefully, make a difference to your children. Eventually with the right opportunities, and people supporting them through the process, you will find gratitude comes naturally to them. You can help them to understand their experiences by helping them to keep a journal

 

Set an example

One of the best ways to show your children how to be grateful is to practice gratitude in front of them. So talking about how grateful you are for even just the basics that make your life comfortable and happy, will not only help you feel happier, but your children will pick up on this model behavior, and it will benefit them too. It isn’t always easy, as life is stressful and can get in the way. Also, we may not have had this behavior modeled to us as children, but it will certainly prove to be a positive parenting decision. You can’t expect the children to mimic you on every level, but just setting a good example can make all the difference. 

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