The Millennial Generation has a bad rap as being the “entitled” generation. Whether it’s true for the entire generation or not is a debate all in its own, but we do know that with each newer generation they have more luxuries than the previous. But where has gratitude gone?
As technology makes things easier year-after-year we sometimes forget to be thankful for what we have. Gratitude is something that seems to be fading more and more. We all want what’s best for our kids and are ready to do anything at the drop of the hat to be sure they are taken care of. We can continue be there for our kids while teach them gratitude.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal from December 2013,
“A 2008 study of 221 kids published in the Journal of School Psychology analyzed sixth- and seventh-graders assigned to list five things they were grateful for every day for two weeks. It found they had a better outlook on school and greater life satisfaction three weeks later, compared with kids assigned to list five hassles.”
Here are 7 Ways we can help our children learn gratitude:
Talk with Them About Being Thankful
Have conversations with your kids about what it means to be thankful and why they should be thankful. Do this not just at Holiday Time, but year round and somewhat frequently. The more experience they have in being grateful, the more they will be grateful.
Give Them Less
Yes, we definitely want to shower our kids with love and attention, but don’t shower them with gifts too frequently. When they come to expect something their gratefulness will fade. Your kid will be fine and honestly, be better off, if they don’t have the newest coolest flashiest thing that everyone else has.
Help your kids discover the joy of giving to others. There’s so much excitement and joy that comes with helping other people out.
Find a Giving Back Project
Find a project in which you can encourage your child to be generous. Help in a soup kitchen, volunteer at a non-profit, do a canned food drive or help out at a food pantry.
When They Want Something Have Them Earn It
Like I said it’s ok to give to your kids. And the next time that they want that “new” thing, make them earn it. Whether that be actually making the money to buy the item, saving the money for it, or working it off by doing chores. They will be more grateful for the item when they know that they had to work to make it happen.
Bring Back the Thank You Note
Thank you notes are so a decade ago… or are they? When your child has a birthday party have them write thank you notes to those that came to their party. Going the extra step with a thank you note not only teaches them follow through, but also reinforces gratitude.
Show Gratitude Yourself
This one on the list may be the hardest of them all. Showing gratitude ourselves. If you are part of the millennial generation you may have not encouraged to show gratitude in your life. Now’s the time to start. Try ticking off the things on the list and your kids will notice as well. After all there is no greater role model in a kids life than their own parents.
No matter the age of your children, it’s never too early to encourage gratitude. What are other ways in which you encourage your children to show gratitude?