Easy Ways to Teach Kids Kindness and Gratitude
It is a hard-core truth that we live in a world where values are slowly degrading and people are becoming more discontented, entitled, and ungrateful. It is also alarming that bullying has permeated our societies and has been rapidly increasing, especially in schools. In a study conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2016, more than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied. These realities pose a major problem in our society since we are breeding a generation with weak values and moral fiber. However, this need can still be addressed.
As a parent, a teacher, or someone who has influence over children, it is important that we do our part in countering this disturbing culture of entitlement, ungratefulness, and discontent. We should be the front-liners in teaching the next generation as regards values and good conduct.
In a study conducted by Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California, it was revealed that cultivation gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 percent (25%). Studies have shown that kids who are grateful have significantly more positive attitudes towards school and family. There are many ways in teaching our kids to be kind and to be thankful. Below are some of these ways.
Count your blessings
It is important that we teach our kids the importance of naming and recognizing our blessings. In this world, because we are not in control of the circumstances that come our way, it is very easy to grow calloused and familiar, that we take things for granted. Humans as we are, we are much appreciative of things that are extravagant, that we neglect to see the countless other mundane and ordinary things that also deserve to be appreciated. In teaching our kids to be kind and thankful, it would be best that we cultivate this culture in our home and in school. We can start by listing down the good things that happen in our daily lives. Also, it would be beneficial that we ask our kids what they are thankful for during the day. We can then process these things with them and remind them that there are so many things to be thankful for. These would be very helpful to them since it is a widely known fact that kids who count their blessings, reap concrete benefits, which include greater life satisfaction and a better attitude towards school.
Find the silver lining
Humans as we are, it is inevitable that throughout our lifetime, we get to face countless trials and circumstances that are way beyond our control. In times like this, there is a great possibility that our emotions will get the best of us. Some people resort to cultivating bitterness in their hearts. Some grow numb, calloused, and detached. These tendencies are also present in kids. Therefore, it is important that we teach our kids to always look for the silver lining. To do this, it would be better for us to talk with our kids when they have complaints or problems. We can ask our kids what the problem is and help them process things. We can ask our kids what they are feeling regarding the present condition. Then, it would be best that we help our kids shift their perspective and help them make lemonade out of life’s lemons. It would be helpful that we tell our kid the positive side of things, to remind them that there is always a reason for everything, and that we can always choose to be thankful, despite the many setbacks.
Encourage kids to be givers
We live in a society with a strong consumer-mentality. This means that we are very much prone and inclined in receiving acts of kindness, rather than being the ones doing acts of kindness. We don’t make our kids happy and fulfilled when we simply enable them to be mere receivers of kindness. Studies would show that we actually escalate our kids’ feelings of happiness and improve their well-being by teaching them to be givers of kindness.
Be thankful and kind
It is a fact that we cannot give what we do not have. Therefore, to be very effective in instilling the importance of kindness and gratitude in the hearts and minds of our kids, it is best that we practice kindness and gratitude in our own lives. Our kids copy and mimic the way we live our lives. This means that as individuals whom our kids look up to, we should be very mindful of how we respond to circumstances. It is essential that we develop a lifestyle of kindness and gratitude, so that we can easily teach these to our kids.
It is never too late to change how things are going on in our world. A culture of kindness and gratitude is really needed today. It is our responsibility to teach these values to our kids, since they are the next generation.