What would you include in your parental job description? Very often we think in terms of how well we provide for our children when we consider what being a parent entails. As parents we want our kids to have the best of everything. While we know it is our job to provide for our children, we often fail to consider that it is equally important to raise grateful children. With Thanksgiving around the corner let’s take time to consider what we as parents can do to raise thankful kids.
Don’t Cater to Whims
The last thing we want to create in our children is a sense of entitlement. If we as parents consistently give our kids everything they want or ask for, they will begin to believe they have a right to these things. Learning to be content with what we have is an important component of thankfulness. Be careful that in your zeal to give your kids good things, you don’t create an ungrateful child in the process.
Although it often seems that our kids are paying us little attention, the truth of the matter is they are watching! If they see us expressing gratitude in our day to day activities, they will follow suit. When you are feeling grateful take time to articulate your thanks – especially if your children are present.
Create Opportunities to Express Thankfulness
If you want your children to be grateful, give them opportunities to communicate thankfulness. For instance, parents can encourage their kids to write a thank you note to someone (neighbor, teacher, family member) they appreciate. Include delivering baked goods to community helpers when planning holiday festivities. With a little forethought and planning, parents can give their kids plenty of occasion for expressing gratitude.
Appropriate Exposure to Different Life Experiences
You want to be careful here. You don’t want to use someone less fortunate as a case study. What you do want is for your children to realize they have much for which to be thankful. For example, if your family has a middle class income and most of your kid’s friend’s families have higher incomes, you can remind her that compared to the rest of the world, your family is in the top 0.97% of household incomes. Or when your child complains about having to go to school, you could give a gentle reminder that many kids their age around the world don’t enjoy the privilege of attending school but work instead.
Read a Book
The great thing about reading books together is that it often prompts meaningful conversation. There are several good children’s books about thankfulness that parents can share with the family. Check out this list of books about gratitude from Babies to Bookworms.
This Thanksgiving season recommit to cultivating an attitude of gratefulness in your household throughout the entire year. Red Apple Reading wishes you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!