Creative Child

Encouraging Gratitude in Children

by Sarah Lyons

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Take care of property

Teach kids the value of their property by showing them the importance of caring for their belongings. Clothes cost money so they should not be on the floor in piles. Toys cost money so if one is broken due to misuse, don’t rush to replace it.

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Say no

It isn’t healthy to say yes to every request your child has. An answer of “no,” or “not right now” teaches children both the value of delayed gratification and encourages gratefulness for occasional treats. If a child is allowed to purchase a toy every time he visits the store, this will become expected. If the toy is purchased as a special reward or with their own money, the child will appreciate it much more.

Teach them the cost of things

Parents know everything costs money and it adds up fast. Allow your child to come along to the grocery store and have them help you find the best deal on food they would like to purchase or allow them to bring their own allowance and purchase something they would like. Point out how much it costs when you go out to eat as a family or make a large purchase of groceries or other items the family needs. Take care to avoid blaming or anger when discussing the cost of items and use the opportunity to teach.

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Give them chores

When children have chores and responsibilities within their family, they begin to understand how much work goes into cleaning, yard work, and other household tasks. Some families may choose to give an allowance for tasks, which can help kids learn to budget and understand the value of hard work and in turn develop gratitude for the work that others do.

The main thing to remember as you encourage gratitude in children is to model the behavior. Thank them for their hard work, acknowledge and thank others for their acts of service, help kids understand the value of items, and give them responsibilities that teach them hard work. We don’t have to eat turkey every day to be thankful for the blessings that surround us all year.

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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