Friday, October 7, 2016

Tips for Teaching Gratitude in Young Children

Tips for Teaching Gratitude in Young ChildrenWe teach our kids a lot of skills, like please and thank you. But do we really take the time to teach them gratitude? It’s easy to teach a child to be politely ask for what they want and be thankful for when they get it. But what about when things don’t go their way? What do you teach them then? At Ontario Bakery, we believe that one of the most important things to do is to teach children gratitude in the face of things not going their way. Because that’s real life. And if they can be thankful regardless of their circumstances, they will master gratitude indeed.

Less than the best
One starter way to nurture this skill in children is to prepare them for what’s possible. Allow them to imagine the best case scenario in their mind as well as the ‘less than best’ scenario. Ask them to think about the person giving, the shop owner, the cook, friend, teacher or relative. Role play with them for a moment or use storytelling to help them see the effort being given on the other end. Encourage them to try and imagine how tired the other person might be, the challenges they might going through as well. “And yet, here they are still giving their best to you.” It’s important to be thankful for more than the act or the item and be thankful for the person and the effort they’re putting in.

People over things
This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of wisdom I can leave you with. Teaching a child that people are more valuable than things, will help really instill the above points. We may not always get what we want. But the things we want are only things. The people behind the things are what last. They’re hearts are more fragile than our toys and our relationships last longer. Be sure that the person always feels more valuable than the item.

Set the example.
The previous is a harder one to practice, especially for adults. Think of how we can respond in extreme ways in the effort to protect our vehicles or electronics. We can sometimes say horrible things that crush the spirit of the child. It’s vital that we lead by example; be firm with the child that our things need to be treated with care, but not at the expense of the child’s feelings of worth. It is our job to make sure they feel loved and valuable, while also being clear about the standard. Additionally, do you exemplify point one? Do you see beyond the mistakes or ‘lesser than’ delivery and see the person behind the action? Do you see your child’s intention, tired and young as they might be, do you see their desire to gift to you or do well in your eyes? Are you telling them you are thankful? Our examples speak high volumes to the children in our lives and it’s vital that we commit to leading the way for them.

Regular thank-you’s
Be intentional about your gratitude. Have set times for normal giving of thanks. Perhaps use dinner time as a daily ritual for going around the table and thanking each person for whatever comes to your mind. For example, thanking each other for buying the food, making the dinner, cleaning the home, holding your hand, giving you a hug when you needed one, for using kind words… say whatever is appropriate, but everyone should have their turn at thanking and being thanked. This not only fosters gratitude in the child, but also in the home.

Try these tips and see how they fare in your home and life. And of course, we’d like to thank you for being dedicated and loyal customers to our family owned bakery in California all these years. Remember, whatever the occasion, if you’re looking for custom designed baked goods, Ontario Bakery is up for the job. Be sure to contact us today!

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