Parents are the first teachers and children look up to their parents; they imbibe everything they see around them. Little children are like sponges ready to absorb what meets their eye and eventually practice it as they grow!
We as parents, knowingly or unknowingly miss on teaching the precious magic word to our children – G.R.A.T.I.T.U.D.E or T.H.A.N.K. Y.O.U. Even if we teach them, the importance of this word needs to be engraved in our children’s system. It is especially taken for granted when in a home environment. Don’t you feel overwhelmed when your child comes and gives you a big hug for the delicious home cooked meal you just made for the family! It feels surreal… and a simple confession followed by a “sorry” on that cute little face is so heartwarming!
The simple question here is how do we practice this in our everyday lives and make it a part of our value system:
1. Lead by example:
Put your words into action. Practice thankfulness and the children will catch it too! Thankfulness is contagious. Remember, they will not do what you say, however they will do what you do.
2. Appreciate the efforts:
When your child helps you to lay the food on the dining table, when he/she helps you in your household chores, picks up the toys and arranges his/her desk and cleans his/her room. Even for the tiniest of their action, say a heartfelt thank you, it will resonate!
3. Show respect:
Even if they are children, show respect by making a request rather than an order. A request is always well accepted better than a command. A “could you please get a glass of water for me?” will receive a better response vis-à-vis “get water for me”.
4. Practice thankfulness:
Teach them to practice thankfulness when they step out of the house – when an auntie offers a candy while you meet her in the elevator, the uncle who lives next door helps you to park your bicycle properly, when the maid helps you to sit on the swing; say a thank you with a smile on your face. Let not these small lovely gestures go unnoticed! Let your children know the value of putting a smile on someone’s face by expressing thankfulness!
5. Accept compliments with grace:
“Oh, he is such a good athlete!”, “she is an amazing dancer!”, “You are wearing such a pretty dress!” - There are numerous occasions when elders pour their heart out while complementing children. Let the children reciprocate the love shown to them by saying a humble thank you!
Also, children usually get excited when they receive presents or surprises be it from friends or family and it is absolutely normal behavior however a quick pit stop to thank the person will be an added charm for the receiver.
Practice it until it becomes a HABIT!
As rightly said by Walt Disney, “The more you are in the state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for!!"