Updated: Feb 1
Thank you all for stopping by The Giggling Life! If you have landed here before you know how much I appreciate you! If this is your first time stopping by WELCOME, I am so grateful to have you!
Do you ever feel the lack of gratitude in your house? Maybe you feel as though your kiddos just don’t appreciate all that you do for them anymore? Now that summer is in full swing & the kiddos have settled into their “summer groove”, I have been able to sit back & see those patterns that have been occurring with my kiddos & I know it is time to fix them! That is why I want to share with you 5 ways to create grateful & appreciative children!
Do you remember when you were a kid & summers seem to last forever? Those endless hours of riding bikes in your neighborhood, running through your sprinklers for hours, making forts with blankets in your living room, coloring, being creative with construction paper, or whatever you could get your hands on?
Or even better, the stories you have heard from your parents about their childhood? My dad grew up in Wyoming, where his step dad would “cowboy” on different ranches. He would spend the summers living in a sheep wagon with 5 siblings. Mind you, my dad is only 72 years old, so it is not like it was centuries ago!
My dad & his siblings, had 1 change of clothes that would get washed every Sunday & were hand me downs for the second or third time over. There wasn’t any electricity, running water, or bathrooms. They didn’t have toys that were bought for them. They would go out within the many hundreds or thousands of acres & make toys or fishing poles to go fishing. They had an absolute blast & were so grateful for anything that came their way!
They made the best of what they had & didn’t know it to be any different! The stories that they tell from their childhood are beautiful & educational! They were so creative & grateful for everything that they had! I absolutely LOVE that & think it is so important for all of us to “strip it down” to the basics once in a while!
I will be sharing stories of their childhood in a book that I am writing about them & the simplicity of their lives! I can’t wait to share it with you all because there are here are so many incredible lessons to be learned from it! I will be updating you with the progress of that book along the way! I am very excited about it! 🙂
It is so different in our world today, isn’t it? My kids have so much of everything; toys, clothes, animals, & it seems they continue to ask for more! It can be very frustrating to my husband & I, because it wasn’t always that way around our house!
From 2009-2014, my husband & I were struggling financially. The economy went sideways in the U.S. & it really affected our family. My husband is in architecture & I stayed home with the kiddos so when his work was on the line it was scary for all of us!
We came very close to losing our home several times, it was tough spending what little money we had on gas or even food. New toys or clothes became something so special to them because they very rarely got them!
It was a time of learning for our family. Learning how to make the most of what we had, & be grateful for anything that came our way! We weren’t able to buy anything extra for the kids. I felt horrible always saying “no” to whatever they wanted.
However, now that time has passed & I have seen those kiddos grow into young men, it was probably the best lesson that we could have ever learned. They know how to work hard for what they want, they are resourceful when they want something, & they APPRECIATE everything that they have! 🙂
In 2015 our house burned & we lost 75% of everything we owned. What an incredible lesson in gratitude that was for all of us. Although we lost a lot, we still had each other, our animals, & we were healthy! We didn’t need anything else…we were just so grateful that we still had each other!
As I am writing to you now, I have to say that I fallen into being a victim of my own parenting with my younger children! After we survived the recession & fire, we started having successful businesses again & started to rebuilding our home. We found ourselves on the complete opposite side of just surviving, to providing our kiddos with too many things!
It is easy to get caught up in that trap of parenting, we love our children so much & want them to have everything, right? This makes it easy to forget what we are really teaching them! I am seeing the side effects of that now, & we have decided that it has to come to an end! 🙂
We are taking it back & implementing the 5 things that we have learned from our struggles in the past. 5 things that have taught our older children to have so much gratitude for everything in their lives! If you implement them all & stick with it they will be LIFE changing for you & your entire family! I hope that you find them as helpful as we have! 🙂
5 Ways to Create Grateful & Appreciative Children:
1. Teach Your Kids To Budget Their Money!
I know that this is a sticky subject for some people, however, when teaching our children to have gratitude for what they HAVE, they need to understand the concept of money! It is a MUST!
How many times have you gone to the store & your beautiful kiddos have barraged you with the question “Can I have this? Can I have that?”. Many of us may have responded with “not today, I don’t have the money to buy that right now” then your kiddos respond ” just use your card”!
An article in the Wall Street Journal suggested that with our kids continuing to get something all of the time, whether it is at drive through’s, convenient stores, dollar stores, wherever, even though it is a small amount of money, it can be a huge factor in why our children do not appreciate what they have.
It is called “passive consumerism” & there can be major factors that arise from this because the ante is always being upped & children no longer figure out ways to share & problem solve. They just expect it.
Great ways to teach your children the importance of money is to either put them on a budget or let them earn an allowance!
This is important for so many reasons as it teaches them the following:
They have to take care of their money & be careful not to lose it. They also have to learn how to be responsible when making the decision to spend it.
They get to learn the importance of saving for certain items that they want. Recently, we gave my son $400 on his birthday for a motorcycle. He had to save up the rest of his money in order to buy one, then had to start looking at motorcycles within his budget.
After 4 months of saving & looking, he was able to buy his motorcycle! It was a great experience for him as it taught him patience & the worth of a dollar. He now realizes how hard his parents work for each & every dollar & he certainly appreciates it a heck of a lot more!:)
3. Work Ethics.
I love this too! Our children will never know how many hours we work to pay for certain things unless they learn to work hard & earn their own money. When we go to the store & my 9 yr old wants a doll or stuffed animal, we break down the cost of it. If the dolls is $10 she will have to do chores for 2 weeks or she can do extra chores & earn it sooner. Either way it is a win-win situation because she has to be responsible in doing her chores, budgeting her money, & work hard to earn her doll. 🙂
I know this can be hard at times! You now know I have fallen in to the trap before too, but if you stick with the budgeting or allowance, you will see so many long-lasting benefits! It is proven that kids whom have had to budget & earn money for their own things, are better problem-solvers, they are more resourceful, willing to share, & are far more grateful than other kiddos that continue to receive instead of earn. 🙂
It’s not easy to watch your kids struggle—but in the end, it does breed gratitude.
2. Schedule Boredom For Your Kids!
How many of you have heard your kids tell you how bored they are already this summer? I think I heard it within the first week of summer break & I almost had a heart attack! 🙂
I knew at that point I had been doing too much with them & they needed to figure out ways to keep themselves entertained without watching TV or playing video games this summer!
We NEVER said we were bored when we were kids because we never were! Like I said before, we were bike riding, running through the sprinklers, you name it we were doing it! Our kids have lost that spontaneity & creativity because we are continually serving them, taking them to play dates, scheduling this or that to keep them busy, & they have constant access to technology!
We need to put a stop to all of this!
According to Parenting Magazine & Psychology Today keeping our kids on such a busy summer schedule can actually be more harmful to them than good: It can hurt their creativity, motivation & problem solving skills!
Here is how:
Between the constant running & the endless sources of technology that our children now have, their time to be quiet & still has become very little.
Studies have shown that this constant source of stimulation can take away from a child’s ability to be creative. When our children have quiet, unstructured time it allows them to think creatively on what they could do. It allows them to day dream, wander, experiment, color, draw, write…it is VERY important to have that down time for this very reason!
We parents influence our children’s level of motivation.A motivated child is one who is raised to seek new experiences, not one who is endlessly protected from boredom. Being creative & motivated to find something to do or make something work is essential for our children’s success in the future! It is good for them to experience this!
3. Problem Solving.
When your children experience boredom they immediately start using their problem solving skills which is GREAT!
I know it can be painful listening to them complain about being bored, but once they realize that you aren’t going to do anything about it, they will figure out what to do!
They will be creative & motivated to cure their boredom, & will figure out something fun to do! Wow! just like that they used 3 of the skills that are so necessary for the their future success!
I love it because it also teaches them to be more grateful for the things that you do schedule & plan for them! 🙂
4. Instill Manners In Your Children!
This seems so easy & should be second nature to everyone, right? Well, apparently not! It seems to be a dying culture that we definitely need to restore among our children! This is one of the most important lessons in teaching your kids about gratitude!
There is nothing more pleasant than hearing a child say “thank you ma’am”, or “nice to meet you sir” with a nice firm hand shake, while looking them into their eyes! It shows such respect & gratitude for one another! It is beautiful!
Saying “please, thank you, & excuse me” are a must! It teaches you to be grateful & respectful each time that you say it. Teach them to be courteous to others by holding the door for them, asking if they need help, how their day is going, & be compassionate & caring because you never know what is happening in other people’s lives.
My children have used extra manners every time that they have gone into the 7-11 by our house & because of it, each time they go in the gal has a special treat for them! It is makes me so happy because the kids treat her how they want to be treated, & she has done the same with them! It has created a beautiful friendship between them all! 🙂
So make sure to remind those kiddos to be grateful for others & use their manners! 🙂
5. Talk Openly About What You Are Grateful For Each & Every Day!
What an important activity for you all to do daily! It should be something that you all do casually as you’re making breakfast, or riding in the car, wherever that may be for you, just strike up that conversation with your kiddos!
You’ll be amazed at where it takes you… 🙂
I usually start the conversation by saying something that I am thankful for, then I ask them to share something that they are thankful for.
It is a beautiful process because you NEVER know what they are going to say! The more you go from one person to the next, the deeper they dig inside for what they are grateful for! I LOVE IT!
This is POWERFUL & can change the way your day goes, I have seen it time & time again! 🙂
Once your children become familiar with sharing WHAT they are grateful for, the more they look for things TO be grateful for, which in turn brings about even MORE for them to be grateful for. Can you see the cycle now? This is why talking & sharing about gratitude with one another is so important!
Try it & I promise you will feel the difference with you & your entire family! 🙂
6. Random Acts of Kindness.
Oh I love this! I noticed that as I begin writing about this topic I am already smiling because it already feels good! What feels better than helping someone, or giving someone a gift when they aren’t expecting it?
It is the BEST & when done alongside all of the above can be life changing!
I love talking to my kids about the different ways we could help others! Everyone’s mood becomes lighter, everyone is happy & willing to do something, it feels good, right? It is supposed to feel that way! That is why it is so important for you all to agree on someone, or something to help! Try & do it each week, bi-weekly, or monthly! 🙂
Remember, it doesn’t have to be big! It can be mowing the neighbor’s lawn, walking their dogs, donating to the food-bank or charity, volunteering time to help clean up, etc.! There are so many things that you can do to help others! Start by brainstorming with your kids, go on-line & do some research on what you all may be interested in then make a date & start doing it together!
I promise you will not regret it & you’ll love seeing how the joy & gratitude radiates from your kids when they are finished! There is nothing like it! It more than worth you time! 🙂
All-in-all, implementing these 5 things into your lives will create gratitude in your children & will also create more gratitude with you! How can you possibly go wrong? 😉
There are many benefits from implementing gratitude within your kids! A recent study in the Wall Street Journal says that kids who understand gratitude have better grades and are less likely to get depressed. They are more motivated, problem-solvers, with a better work ethic & drive to succeed. 🙂
So start today….don’t make it hard…just make it work! You’ll be so happy that you did! 🙂
We will be sharing our success with you along the way & I would love to hear how it is going for you all as well!
It is time to make the change everyone! We can do this together!
We GOT this!
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Thanks for stopping by, I am grateful for you!
Thanks so much for sharing!