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14 Ways to Raise Grateful Kids in a Selfish World

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It can be difficult to raise grateful kids in a world where people of all ages are constantly compared to others and encouraged to have more, be better, and achieve higher goals. Young, impressionable minds can easily get swept up in the mentality of always wanting more and never being satisfied—a recipe for poor mental health and trouble keeping relationships.

As parents, we want our children to grow up with an appreciation for what they have and a desire to give back to their communities. This will give them the tools to find happiness and fulfillment in life rather than focusing on material possessions.

So, how can we raise grateful kids in a seemingly selfish world? Here are 14 ways to cultivate gratitude in our children.

1. Model Gratitude

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Practicing daily gratitude is a great life skill for all ages. As a parent, incorporate gratitude into your daily routine and make it something you model for your children. Say “thank you” often, express appreciation for the little things, and acknowledge the efforts of others.

For extra motivation, try keeping a gratitude journal and encourage your children to do the same. This will help them to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and develop a habit of expressing gratitude.

2. Acknowledge Their Show Of Gratitude

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We may want our children to show their appreciation of things and people in a particular way, but we should not forget that they, too, have a mind and personality of their own.

If your child is not a hugger but likes to express their gratitude differently, do not downplay or undermine their expression. If they bring you a disorganized bouquet of roses, be excited about it, even if you aren’t a flower person.

3. End The Day With Gratitude

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A lot happens in a day, and some parts can be plain lousy. Counting our blessings at the end of the day reminds us of the little rainbows after the showers. If you don’t reflect on the day and offload your woes, you may carry the day’s woes into the next day.

Let your kids tell you the best part of their day and appreciate the small wins. This is an opportune time to bond with them and appreciate the gift of family.

4. Give Back To Society Together

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Encouraging generosity, particularly towards those in need, is a wonderful approach to help your children embrace the joy of giving and the privilege of positively impacting others.

When you give, you remember that you have been blessed a little more than someone else and that sharing is love in action. Find a cause or charity you and your family can support together, whether it’s donating time, money, or resources.

5. Allow Them To Make Their Own Choices

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The ability to make choices is a gift we often overlook, as not everyone enjoys this privilege. Allow your children to select their activities for this autumn season, and support them in achieving their aspirations. This will help them appreciate the power of choice and take responsibility for their decisions.

You can even make them aware of this privilege by sharing different cultural practices and how not everyone has the same opportunities. This can help them develop empathy and gratitude for what they have.

6. Take Nature Walks

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Enjoy leisurely strolls with your kids through nearby parks or natural landscapes, where you can marvel at the beauty and abundance of nature. This can help shift their focus away from material possessions and towards gratitude for the world around them.

You can also use this time to discuss conservation efforts and how we can show appreciation for our planet by taking care of it.

7. Start A Gratitude Journal

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Start a family gratitude journal where everyone can jot down something they are thankful for daily. Encourage your kids to illustrate their entries to make them engaging and personal.

Journaling is an excellent way to record all your blessings and reflect on them when you feel low. It’s good to start this habit when the kids are young, and they’ll grow with it.

8. Make Crafts Together

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Plan fun and creative craft projects with your children focusing on building gratitude. You can make thank you cards and send them to loved ones or make “thankful trees” where they can hang leaves with things they are grateful for written on them.

What kid doesn’t love a good craft session? It’s a great way to learn while bonding with the other kids.

9. Hold Family Discussions

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Introducing a family general meeting is a fun way to talk about important family matters, and make the kids feel included in the family dynamics. The kids get to see that you’re serious about a family talk and about recording your life as a family.

Engage in open conversations about gratitude during family meetings. Share your experiences and express how grateful you are for your family and all your opportunities to love and be loved.

Depending on the children’s ages, there may be more giggles than talks, but that is still OK.

10. A Meeting Over A Meal

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Food makes everything better; organize a family dinner that is different from other dinners. You can focus on trying new recipes, bringing takeout from a special restaurant, or whatever gets you excited for a special night together. It’s good to make this a habit and let the children know this is an unmissable event.

During family meals, take a moment to reflect on the food on your table and express gratitude for the effort that went into providing (and cooking) it.

11. Highlight Acts Of Generosity

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Children are generally selfish and have a “this is mine” attitude towards many things (which is totally normal for their ages and development). They also don’t often do things without being asked most of the time.

Make a fuss about the times they have gone out of their way to be generous, and encourage them to do that a lot more. If they do things without being prodded, praise and reward them so they know it’s an excellent character quality. Positive reinforcement will help them understand just how important being grateful is.

12. Be Truthful About Privilege

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If you are fortunate enough to live a privileged life, tell your kids about your financial and social status and let them know that not everyone has this privilege.

Allow them to brainstorm on ways they can use whatever privilege they have to bless other people. Teaching them that privilege is okay and that they can use it to make the world a better place is powerful.

13. The Art Of Storytelling

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If you’re not sure what to do, read a book. Books are fantastic ways to open your child’s mind to different worlds and to help them grow their imagination.

Choose a book that emphasizes the importance of having an attitude of gratitude. Stories stick in kids’ minds long after the book is closed.

14. Go Around the Room

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Let your kids know how grateful you are for them; it’ll stick in their hearts forever.

Taking the time to tell each family member what you love most about them can be powerful and spread all the warm fuzzies. Show your kids how to do it, and then have them follow suit.


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