10 Tips to bring gratitude into your child’s life without them even knowing
Posted: December 26, 2017
By Master Christopher Rappold
Photo By Chris Split
We know it is important to be taught to be grateful, but you continually feel like your children just don’t get it. Here are 10 tips that you can integrate in to bring more gratitude into your home without your children ever even knowing.
- 1. Speak often about being grateful – Nothing will beat a consistent message played over and over again. Have you ever caught yourself repeating a saying your parents used to say? I think we all have. When children continually hear you give your reasons for why you feel grateful it’s no surprise over time they will do the same.
- 2. Encourage chores – While there are many benefits of chores, one that perhaps you have not thought of is empathy. When a child is given the experience of working out in the hot sun, washing an entire meal full of dishes or shoveling snow, they tend to be more empathetic when they see others doing these tasks within their profession.
- 3. Find a Project – Listen for what pulls at your child’s heart. Is it caring for abused animals, their reaction to seeing a poor person on the street or seeing some other kind of social injustice? Whatever it is, encourage and participate along with them in getting involved by investing volunteer time to make it better.
- 4. Thank you notes – Perhaps even more important today than in the past, taking the time to thank someone for efforts they made is a wonderful way to keep their feet grounded in gratitude. For a moment it puts your child in tune with a tangible act of expressing gratitude. Birthday and holiday gifts are a great place to start.
- 5. Practice saying, “No” - Doesn’t it goes against the nature of wanting to make your child happy to tell your child, “No”? Let me give you a little motivation to do it more often: research studies have shown that when you give children everything they want, they are less likely to appreciate and more likely to have an entitled mindset. The more you practice saying “No” the more you are actually showing them love for the long term.
- 6. The difference between rights and privileges - As adults I think we get the difference much easier than children do. A little education in this area can go a long way. It is right to have clothing to keep your body warm; it is a privilege to have designer outfits. It is a right to be able to communicate; it is a privilege to have the latest smart phone. It is a right as a citizen of this country to have an education; it is a privilege to be able to participate in all of the extra-curricular activities.
- 7. Start a meal with gratitude - Have each member of the family go around the table and share something they are grateful for. Similar to prayer, it puts mindfulness back into family time and encourages conversations.
- 8. Give your child everything they need but not everything they want – What does your child need: food, clothing, shelter, education and love. Take the pressure off yourself to keep up. As long as you are doing your best and giving love especially in the area of time and thoughtful attention chances are you are doing a great job.
- 9. Encourage helping without being asked – A sign that your child is really starting to understand to when they offer help without being asked. With some getting to this point may take years. Do not let that discourage you from privately pointing out opportunities that your child could be of better help.
- 10. Interpret news through your eyes – While I am not a fan of watching the news or reading the newspapers, a steady diet of everything that is wrong with the world will surely find its way to your child. When it does, use it as a teachable lesson to point out how fortunate your family is to not have to deal with such terrible situations. While drawing comparison to others that have it worse make sure to keep it on gratitude not guilt for lacking appreciation.
Incorporate the ten steps into your communication and watch how effortlessly over time your child develops the attitude of gratitude.
Master Christopher Rappold has authored many books on personal development as well as self-defense and bullying strategies. His book Be Your Personal Best: Confidence helps guide yourself and/or others in being more confident and being more successful in life. If you would like a free copy of this book, please visit here.
If you would like to have your child try our award-winning martial arts program that will reinforce family values and teach mental and physical skills to ensure they are safe, please fill out the lead form to the right of this page or visit our Contact Page for contact information. I promise you that our team of highly-skilled martial arts teachers and mentors will make you and your family feel right at home.