Children do not grow into model humans by default. As parents, you need to show them which attitude, character, and manners to imbibe and which to discard. Naturally and quite amusingly, most children initially exhibit impoliteness or inconsideration during the first phases of their interaction with others. This happens almost like a human default mode before they are properly introduced into the world of manners. Hence the need how to teach your child to appreciate what they have and be grateful.
Take, for instance, a child would most likely not be interested in sharing whatever they have, at least not until the parents teach him to share. In the same vein, a child will probably be dissatisfied with their toy because of what another child has. All these point out that we do not just leave children and assume they will learn manners by some natural awareness.
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Parenting is more comprehensive than just paying attention to their physical well-being and health. It also encompasses seeing to develop a child’s emotional intelligence and social interaction, among other things.
Appreciation happens to be a peculiar trait of functional human beings.
It happens to be two-pronged things. First, it encompasses contentment and gratitude. Even as adults, this trait is vital to anyone’s emotional and mental stability.
It is more than just expressing gratitude and looking at what belongs to someone else. It is the key to finding satisfaction, feeling loved, and holding what belongs to you in high value.
Since even some adults do not possess this character trait, you must be wondering if it would be difficult to teach this to a child.
Good news! This is the best time they can learn such easily with little or no mental resistance. So, to further clear your mind of any doubts about teaching this to your child, let’s delve straight into some things you need to do! Believe it; you are on your way to being a happier human and model parent.
How to raise an appreciative Child
1. Teach your Child simple manners first
The very first step into raising an appreciative child is to teach him manners, especially ones that express gratitude. You could start by introducing the child to say thank you when they receive a gift. You could also try to help them imbibe the act of making excuses when they need to use someone else help. That way, a child recognizes always to value every little thing someone else does for them.
In the same vein, they begin to unlearn entitlement. Then, naturally, the child starts to recognize the value of receiving help from others. This is the foundation to teaching someone to value the things they have (dearly) and the ones they were given.
Still, you could consciously show and actively teach your child the act of sharing on teaching your children manners. Sharing what they have with others allows them to understand the importance of what they have and how much it means for others to have that same thing. You could encourage them by showing gratitude to them when they share. You could even incentivize it.
However, you should be careful not to allow incentivizing to be conspicuous. Else, you may end up throwing away the very essence of what you are trying to teach the child. The goal is to make them see the importance of their actions and the value of the little they think they have. Believe it; it goes a long way. Try it too as a parent. It works!
2. Make them responsible
This is another important way of showing your child, rather than just telling them what to do. Giving them responsibilities creates an awareness of the existence of others in them. It makes them understand the world is not just about them and their interests. It shows them that some other people pray to have what they enjoy.
It could be as simple as having them pick out the food items you intend to give kids at the orphanage. It could even be as simple as giving them simple household chores (depending on the level of comfort your family is).
Any responsibility that naturally triggers the gratitude for what they have and where they are would do. You should be able to figure out which one applies to you as a parent.
3. Say No when it counts
Human beings are predisposed to consumerism. This especially needs to be checked in children. When you notice that your child demands at a whim, especially things they do not need, you have to learn how to say a firm NO! Look at this instance: a child with three teddy bears demands another one just because of the new design.
This is not ridiculous; it may seem to you now; even adults consumed by luxury and ostentation engage in it.
However, even if you have the means, that may be the right time to say no. You then have to proceed to explain to your child why the teddy is unnecessary.
You also have to explain to the child that they cannot always get what they want in life. Finally, you have to teach them to value what they have and be grateful for it.
4. At these times, You need to be a bit firm
Whichever way you see it, teaching value to a child is not just as easy as telling them what to do. You also have to bear in mind that a child may not be mature enough to understand the essence of these things even when you show them.
Therefore, if you intend to imbue the culture of contentment and gratitude in your child, you need to be a bit firm. This means that you have to be clear on your values, understand them yourself, and define them to your children. Children in these times happen to be very inquisitive.
Clarity helps you uphold these values. Just because you understand what you are doing and how it contributes to the child’s emotional intelligence, it would be easy to explain when questions arise.
Furthermore, child socialization is not just a family thing. A myriad of other factors like school, environment, and the media contribute a lot more to your child’s upbringing. Due to the increased exposure they get, it is only natural that your child desires something better.
They may lose the sense of gratitude after seeing better options on the television or in their environment. You cannot blame the child for that; it is a human thing. It takes firmness and reiteration of the first step we mentioned above to pass across the message.
5. Teach Money Management
As a parent, you have to teach your children money management. This comes in very handy for children that are a bit older (most especially preteens). To make them fully understand the necessity of money management, give them allowances.
You need to have a basic understanding of the underlying factors yourself. You need to know the exact amount of money that will cater to all the basic needs; you could then add a little extra.
How is this related?
When a child can only spend a stipulated amount of money, they tend to hold whatever they purchase in high regard. They understand that they may not afford new ones, so they value them a lot.
In the same vein, they develop a sense of appreciation whenever someone else gets them anything. It could be you; it could be someone else. This goes a long way in building up their sense of contentment and gratitude.
Have you read these yet?
6. You have to be patient and consistent
This cannot be overemphasized. As a parent, you need to be calm enough to put things into perspective.
This is especially important if you don’t see immediate (or obvious) results of your attempts at teaching your child how to be appreciative. You may need to be patient enough to notice things like the child’s body language, the child’s rate of making demands, and how often the child makes comparisons.
All of these things are perfect indicators that you have (or have not made progress). Therefore, you have to be intuitive enough to figure all of that out.
Not all children will become conscious and play nice right off the hook. It would help if you gauge how your child reacts to these situations with any of the above indicators that fit.
However, you need more than just your patience; you need to be consistent enough in your teachings. You also need to be aware of times when you may need to re-strategize. Then, you can try out new approaches; focus on one part that you think affects your child the most. So you see, patience and consistency are important.
It may surprise you to find out at the end that not only do your children become better at appreciating what they have, you have also personally grown to be more conscious about life, gratitude, and happiness. It could be very cathartic when you do these things right. You could help make the world a better place by starting with just your children. Keep at it!