Raising grateful children

When you appreciate people in the presence of children, they will emulate that from you. Net photo.

If there is anything you should always impart to the little ones, it is gratitude. Gratefulness means warmly or deeply being appreciative of kindness or benefits received. You probably wouldn’t want to see your child walk away without appreciating you just after giving them something nice or offering them a service.

Polite language is very vital. It is something you ought to teach to your child as they learn to speak. Saying “Thank you,” when offered something, “please,” when they need help or favours. Well, it is not easy for them to master these statements, but they need to be reminded when they forget to. Don’t be hard on them, learning takes some time.

Be a good example. When you appreciate people in the presence of kids, they will emulate that from you. Kids mostly learn more from actions than words. Say sorry when you wrong them. Even though they are young, your actions affect them either positively or negatively.

Thankfulness improves relationships. Your child and you would be the best of friends if you both appreciate each other. You can give them tasks, for example; putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket or organising their rooms, or ask them to do something that you know will need you to thank them, afterwards. Appreciating them would make them yearn to do those activities more often.

Gratitude opens doors to opportunities and privileges. An appreciative child would make you want to give them services or gifts. For your child to gain favour from other people, gratitude is very important. No one wants to be near or associate with a child who lacks morals.

Gratefulness creates joy. A study conducted by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, reveals that cultivating gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 per cent. It can also cause individuals to live happier, more satisfied lives and enjoy increased levels of self-esteem, hope, empathy and optimism. Imagine getting a gift for someone and they never value it, it can really heart, right?

Get moments as a family and give chance to everyone to be appreciative for everything that they have, it could be a birthday gift, a cloth, book, school fees or anything. By doing so, you are planting a seed of gratitude.

Allow kids to give but not to always expect to be given. Let them know that as they receive, they ought to give to others. They can give anything, whether a snack or toy. The value of receiving can be felt when you learn how to give. Teach kids to have a giving heart.

Train kids politeness and respect. Appreciation just doesn’t come from nowhere, a child who is groomed morally knows what to do or say at the right time. Thanking someone for a favour or a service just doesn’t happen out of the blue, it is a discipline taught and has to be kept. You can give punishments if your child fails to always appreciate people.

Provide kids with books that explain about gratitude. Books with pictures will be better as they show what is described. Let them watch cartoons that show a good example of appreciating acts.

Tell your child stories or scenarios that would make them value what they have. That is to say, if your child plays with food, tell them that there are kids on streets who haven’t eaten for days, they can’t even afford water. Go ahead and explain to them, that what other people lack, for them they have, like the warm bed, access to education, play toys, clothes, and so on. It is through such examples that you will widen their thinking about life. They will know why it is not a must to have what they have, and that it is just a blessing to have them anyway.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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