The more you give them, the less they will appreciate it: gratitude in children

Today children have everything, they become infatuated with a product and parents, when they buy it, expect their children to feel grateful. Then parents can give this product of such interest to the little one, who may be excited for a while, but not grateful. And with the passing of days, that illusion decays. Because children, the more you give them, the less they appreciate things.

In reality, what is essential is to teach children that around them there are thousands of wonderful things that have nothing to do with material things and that make them happy, even if they do not always realize it. In this sense, it is the obligation of parents to teach their children to appreciate things.

Gratitude in children

Gratitude is one of the hardest concepts to teach to young children who are self-centered by nature, but it is one of the most important.By learning gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other skills important to life.

Grateful children look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and others do things for them: cook dinner, give hugs, or buy toys. On the other hand, kids who aren’t taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled to always come first and are left perpetually disappointed.

Instill feelings of gratitude now will benefit your child later in life. Grateful people are happier and more optimistic, and have lower levels of depression and stress. But being grateful is something that must be learned, nobody is born that way.

When can they begin to appreciate things?

Young children can begin to appreciate things although it is known that they are self-centered. But, it is from 18 months when they can begin to better understand the concepts that have to do with gratitude. They begin to understand that they are dependent; that mommy and daddy do things for them.

In other words, young children understand that they are human beings separate from their parents, and that mom and dad often do things to make them happy (from playing hide-and-seek to handing out cookies), even if little ones that age can’t express their appreciation.

By age 2 or 3, children can talk about being grateful for specific objects, pets, and people. By age 4, children can understand that they are grateful not only for material things like toys, but also for acts of kindness, love, and care.

gratitude kids

How is it taught?

Children imitate their parents in every way, so you have to make sure to use “please” and “thank you” ” when you talk to them. You can do this by saying things like, “Thanks for that hug, it made me feel great!” Also insist that they use words of thanks whenever they get the chance. After all, good manners and gratitude often go together. In addition, keep in mind the following points:

  • Work gratitude in daily conversations
  • Ensure that children help at home and others
  • Encourage generosity
  • Insist on written thank-you notes between family and friends
  • Be consistent as not every whim should be granted
  • Be patient as gratitude does not develop overnight, it takes a long time of effort

The list of happiness

Besides, there is another strategy that is ideal for working on gratitude in children, we refer to “the list of happiness”. This list will help children appreciate things. You have to tell your children to write down the things that make them feel good, to help them you can indicate the following for them to answer:

What makes you happy?

  • At home: get into a warm bed when I’m cold, have water and electricity, have food in the pantry, etc.
  • Outside: enjoying nature, playing with friends, looking for shapes in the clouds, etc.
  • With the family: eating my favorite dishes, play with my parents and siblings, listen to music, watch a movie all together, etc.
  • At school: the teachers are concerned that I learn, I feel good with my friends, etc.

These are just examples, obviously the list can have unlimited options so, ideally, the children think about it every day so that they can discover new things. Give your children space to think and they will come to mind. This list will always make them feel better when they are sad or at any other time in their lives. In addition, they will get to know themselves better, something that will give them self-esteem and security.