Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teaching your Children Gratitude and Charity

Written by Megan from for
grat·i·tudenoun: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful

Ever hear of the terrible twos? There is a reason that two year olds are so cute, it’s so you still love them after they are “terrible.” They get what they want when they want it and they wanted it two minutes ago.  However, what is cute at two isn’t so cute when it is a surly sixteen year old stomping her feet in a tantrum.

It is our jobs as parents to make sure that those needy babies and toddlers, who are dependent on us from the beginning, do not grow up to be selfish, jealous teenagers and adults.  How do we do that?  By teaching them gratitude and charity from an early age.

Here are some tips:

1.   Model the behavior that you wish your child to learn.  Want your kids to say please and thank you?  Then make sure that you are saying it as well, to your kids for doing their chores, to the grocery store clerk that bags your groceries, to the crossing guard at your kids school.  Let your kids hear you say it, and they will use it to.

2.   Playroom overflowing with toys no longer being used?  Have your kids go through them and encourage them to get rid of the gently used toys they no longer play with. Then bag them up and take them to your local donation center, such as the Salvation Army.  While you are there discuss with your kids that you are donating your extra toys so that others who don’t have as much can have fun things to play with.

3.   Did your kid just have a birthday or have a great holiday?  Make sure to have your child thank everyone who came to the party for being there and follow up with a handwritten thank you card. Discuss with your child the importance of thanking people for their gifts and why we need to acknowledge their thoughtfulness.

4.   Give your kids chores to do around the house so that they learn to appreciate the effort that goes into maintaining a home.  Have them help you make dinner, clean up their rooms, help with the laundry, it doesn't have to take all day but it will help instill in them a work ethic that will serve them well later in life.

5.   Finally, don’t feel like every time you go to the store you need to buy them something as a treat.  Children do not need to be rewarded for good behavior in a store, they should behave regardless of the treat.  An occasional treat is fine, but unless you want a meltdown every time you step foot in the store make your expectations for behavior known and let them know not to expect a treat every time.
*photo courtesy of WoodleyWonderWorks via Flickr

      Megan Wolff Galko, is the founder and owner  Megan is a graduate of the University of Scranton and North Pocono HS. Megan has served as Deputy Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). She is also a former reporter for The Scranton Times and The Moscow Villager. She and her husband, Vince have five children.  They live in Northeastern Pennsylvania. 


Jennifer Quirky Momma said...

Great article and wonderful advice. I try but I think I fail at this. I could do so much better.

Donna said...

Great ideas.

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