Teaching Children to be Grateful For What They Have

Are there times you feel your children seem ungrateful for what they have? I have come up with a few suggestions to help in the way of teaching children to be grateful for their things.

I want to start by telling you how very blessed I feel to be able to stay home with my children, plus earn an income while working from home. However, we do live on a strict budget. For the amount of income we earn, or lack their of, I feel our children have suffered very little. It is probably because of this, that I get upset when my children exhibit a lack of appreciation for what they have. Due to this attitude of, I want it all, I have been working on things I can do to remind my children to be grateful for what they do have.

Teaching Children To Be Grateful

teaching children to be grateful

Here are a few tips that help instill a sense of appreciation and gratitude in your child:

Encourage Giving

When children are always receiving, it is hard for them to imagine that there are others who need things way more than they do. When there are opportunities to give, it is important to take advantage of those. For instance, our church creates Boxes of Hope each year that are sent to Hong Kong and Asia. Our church is involved in New Life for Haiti, which includes two mission trips each year to Haiti to help build schools, homes, provide medical assistance and more. We do not go on these trips, but I do use them to show how these kids do not have anything. We have so many things that we take for granted, such as a home to live in, clothes, food, etc. It an important lesson to teach children, and that giving back should be a way of life.

Aim to Make Gratitude a Part of Daily Conversation

Our society lives in abundance. It is easy to take for granted all of the wonderful things that are free to us. Especially with all that is going on in the Middle East, I like to point out to my children and remind them of how lucky we are to have the freedom to enjoy these moments. What are your children grateful for that day? It can be the changing of the seasons, the sun is shining, it is raining and they get to go splash in puddles, or how about the smell and beauty of a new flower? Using these moments to teach children that even the smallest of things is worth appreciating, helps a lot in teaching them to be thankful.

Strong Work Ethic

It seems in this whole mix of gratitude there is also seems to be a lack of feeling obligated. For instance, my oldest daughter has no feeling of guilt if she were to stay home from school for being “sick”. Grant it, she has had a difficult time with school over the last few years between the cliques and her own anxieties. However, I recall how incredibly guilty I would feel if I missed school. That feeling of quilt then transferred with me when I started working.

I believe we are definitely the role models they look to on work ethic. When we live the life of showing a strong work ethic, that behavior imprints onto our children. This also carries over into the school aspect. Learning that hard work pays off, whether that is with a job or school, often makes them more appreciative.

Having the concept of actually how much work it takes to achieve a goal, will help them better understand your “no” when they ask for something.

I think we all want children who are grateful for what they have, and truly appreciate it. However, it takes us as parents to teach them why they should be grateful. Creating opportunities for teaching children to grateful will payoff, when they are less inclined as adults to have a sense of entitlement. This is an adult who never learned the value work hard for anything he or she got as a child.

Give Them Small Jobs

Children do not really understand the value of money. They see swipe our debit or credit cards and believe there is an unending flow of money. I remember as a child I had wanted something, but my mom had said no. We did not have the money for it. I told her all she had to do was write a check. I had felt we could have anything we wanted by just writing a check!

From an early age, children can start learning the value of money by being given small jobs to do to earn cash. Is there something your child really wants? Help them learn the value of work to earn the money to buy that item.

Sometimes, it is also the lack of understanding how much time and energy goes into earning the money to afford the objects they want. When children learn that things do not come easy or free, it teaches them to appreciate what they have that much more. It also inspires them to care for their possessions even more, when they start to understand how long it takes to save for them.

What have you done to help to teach your child to be more appreciative? I’d love to hear things that have worked for you! 



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About the Author

I am a work from home mom who dearly loves her 15-year-old daughter, 11-year-old boy/girl twins, and husband. I love my life and feel very blessed by what God has provided for me.

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