I’m not gonna give you a big spiel on this. As hard as we work to provide for our kids, the last thing we want is for them to be selfish and ungrateful. There are already enough adults that feel like the world owes them!
Here’s a few ways to NIP that in the bud early!
1. No ON DEMAND
I’d recently noticed that my kids weren’t asking for things, they would just make a statement.
Example: “Thirsty!” or “Hungry” or “Give me a snack!”
Um…excuse you, little one! That’s not how this works. It’s important to catch these moments so that they don’t become a pattern. They’ve learned that asking nicely IS NOT an option.
2. Pick a person
Have them choose someone they can show gratitude, and not just by saying thank you. How can they show it? It can be for a teacher, librarian, neighbor, or a friend.
Before leaving our last duty station, my girls made cupcakes for the librarians who facilitated several kids programs that we attended at least twice a week!
Your kids can make a card, bake cupcakes, give a $5 gift card from their allowance…there are many options and the fun part to this is when they can come up with their show of gratitude by themselves.
3. Earn it
Instead of giving our kids everything they want, find a way for them to earn it. Use a chore, or just continual acceptable behavior as the means. You can figure out how you want to do that part. This teaches them the concept of working for what they want. They’ll appreciate it more!
4. Give away stuff
When we were relocating and decided to get rid of a lot of stuff, we gave our kids the choice of picking a friend to give toys to. We’ve repeated this several time, including giving away clothes. They also understand that it allows them to make room to receive more.
5. Model Gratitude
As always, we are our kids’ biggest lesson. Show them how to be grateful by doing simple things. Tell them ‘thank you’ when they do things for you. You can model it by not being wasteful and even by the gratitude that you show others in your life! They see it and they definitely LEARN from it!
**Here’s a Bonus**
Have them draw a picture of what they are thankful for. It’s fun to see what they come up with!