It’s wonderful when we are able to provide for our children without stress. However, sometimes when things are going well financially, we can get sucked into a lifestyle of overconsumption. This may lead to lack of appreciation for the things we have, and this attitude is soaked up by our children.
How can we remind our children to be thankful, and teach them to recognize all they have to be grateful for?
Point Out “The Little Things”
When we live in abundance, it’s easy to overlook all the tiny, wonderful moments that cost us nothing. When you experience one of these, be sure to stop and point it out to your child and remind them how lucky we are to have these experiences. How wonderful it is to feel the gentle pounding of rain on our faces, or smell the new flowers in spring. What a rich experience it is to watch a tiny insect crawling, or taste a decadent ice cream cone. Appreciate the little things in life and your child will begin to do the same.
When your child is always in a state of receiving, they may forget there are others who need things more than they do. Create opportunities for your child to give. There are times when your child may have an influx of gifts, such as birthday and Christmas. In these moments, ask them if they could pass along any of their toys that are used but in good condition, to someone less fortunate. This reminds us of the mantra to “give back,” which is essential throughout life.
Give Them Small Jobs
From the time they are young, children can learn about the value of money by completing small jobs for cash. If your child is demanding that you buy them the latest game console, give them small jobs and help them learn to save their own money for it.
Sometimes our children don’t appreciate the things they have simply because they don’t understand the value of them, nor the time that goes into paying for the objects they have. When a child learns that things do not come easy or free, it helps them appreciate everything more. It also encourages them to care for their possessions, because they know how long it took to save for them.
Teach Them a Strong Work Ethic
When children learn to work hard, they are often more appreciative of their belongings. Teach your children to work diligently, no matter what their task may be. Then when there is something they wish to have, you can explain that you as the parent have to work hard for it in order to make the money necessary to buy it.
It makes it easier for a child to understand your “no” when they realize there is a good reason for you to say it. It will help them understand you are not simply holding out on them, but that making purchases requires hard work. Experiencing some of that hard work, whether by helping take out the trash or loading the dishwasher, makes this concept more understandable.
We all want our kids to appreciate what they have, and we as parents need to take steps to ensure that this will happen. Make the effort to teach your child to appreciate what they have, and little by little you will find yourself parent to someone who is less likely to demand everything, and more grateful for what they do have.