When embarking on starting a family, many couples have hopes of raising kind and grateful children. It is an admirable wish to have for our youngsters, and too, it does not come easily. Parents must take an active role in guiding their children to develop these commendable qualities. In a world where face to face interactions are dwindling, it is easier for children to get lost in the muck of technology and its influences while missing the gift of learning valuable traits from social interactions. Luckily, there are things we can do to promote holistic traits and help our children to be a beacon of light in the world.
Below are 3 tips to raising grateful and kind children:
- Simplify toys early on. How many times have you seen children who have loads of toys that take over a family’s home? Children do not need this. When providing an exorbitant amount of toys, we are teaching children that they can have anything they want at their disposal. In efforts to please our children with options, we may be subliminally contributing to selfishness and discontentment.
Try this: Instead, have less toys and try opting for shelving that will display these toys, rather than multiple chests where toys get lost and fill up a home. Shelves can be a good option that show variety, while also promoting simplicity.
Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
2. Cultivate concern for others. Parents often try to hide negative things that are occurring in the world in hopes to protect their children. While there is a time and a place to shelter our children of societal devastations, it is also important to selectively share with them what is occurring and how to respond with love and kindness.
Try this: You can use three circles to help children understand how to expand their concerns and develop empathy, gratitude and kindness toward others. In the “small circle” you can discuss those who are close that you love including family, friends and pets. In the “middle circle” you may include those within our vicinity that we can be kind and a good example to, such as teachers, neighbors and classmates. In the “big circle” you may choose to include people we don’t know, but still care about and are grateful for, such as the firefighters who helped those in need on the news, the folks who clean up the garbage on the freeways, or nurses and doctors who took care of the victims in a local car crash. These conversations promote gratitude and concern for the wellbeing of others.
- Praise qualities. We love to compliment children on how “cute” or “handsome” they look. Appearance is an easy thing to oogle over when we have adorable little beings among us. While praising looks is usually innocent and an easy way to recognize a child, it is also important to focus your compliments and acknowledgement on the positive qualities that contribute to a whole person.
Try this: The 80-20 rule can be helpful to keep in mind when parents want to raise grateful and kind children. For 80% of the compliments, try to focus on positive intrinsic qualities your child is displaying. Compliment their kindness, demonstration of sharing, having a positive attitude, being a good example, using manners and so on. Use these compliments as an opportunity to talk about these traits and the significance of them.