Teaching Kids To Appreciate ~ Don't Just Be Sad It's Over!
Being thankful is something that we want to instill in children from such an early age, always telling them to ‘say thank you’, even before they learn the meaning of the word they may say it, purely because it is expected of them.
Is it more that we need to explain why we ask children to be thankful So they can truly learn the meaning of appreciation and gratitude?
How many times have you had a lovely experience out with your child, they are having a lovely time at the park, fun fair, or at a friends, and then when it’s time to go they become sad, begin crying, and any sense of appreciation goes out of the window? I’m sure this is common for everyone to have experienced at least a few times!
As the parent, feeling that sense of unappreciation from your child can become quite a negative force, and all too easily you could find yourself not wishing to do these nice things for your child. But remember! It is just a matter of teaching them the importance of appreciating what they have in their lives, all that they are, and all that surrounds them.
One way we can try to make the transition smoother is by ensuring that they know what will happen should they act with lack of gratitude or gratefulness. For example, a pre warning of the expected behaviour and consequence of any misbehaviour. Also, don’t have any expectation they will remember this next time either! It may seem tedious but always remind them and eventually they will learn without needing to be reminded. You could say to your child before you go to the fair ‘I’d like to us to leave the fair happy and grateful today, because when we don’t it makes mummy sad making me not want to come back and enjoy the fair again!’
Also exercises that teach them that nothing lasts forever, and that things change! Such as doing crafts with leaves, flowers, etc.. and seeing them wilt and move on. Or doing a creative activity where they start the picture and you carry it on, so it develops and changes out of their control- but also turns into something lovely.
Why not try out our story of the Appreciation Ant or Appreciation Armadillo to help your child understand that their actions have consequences, and they always have the choice to act in the manner which will result in positive outcomes.
Appreciation Ant: he loves being with his friends and working as a team, and he used to get very sad and had tantrums when mummy ant came and told him it was home time. Appreciation ant decided that it was much better when he said goodbye cheerfully with smiles and scuttled home with mum while merrily talking about all the nice things that he did with his friends, rather than having a tantrum and crying all the way home which made his mum upset too thinking he hadn’t had a nice time at all! There was so much appreciation ant wasn’t sharing with his mum so she wouldn’t know he enjoyed it or wanted to see his friends again. At least appreciation ant learnt his lesson- are you like appreciation ant too?
Appreciation Armadillo: he is always appreciative of the safe home around his inner body that his hard shell protects. It wasn’t until one day that he nearly lost his shell that he started fully appreciating it rather than thinking it wasn’t as shiny as the others, or slight less smooth.
Why not also have ‘appreciation o’clock’ time before bed, where you and your child can share with each other what you are thankful for each day. You can also see a previous blog post on writing a daily gratitude journal too here with links to where you can purchase it- they have a beautiful kids version too!
We appreciate you being here to learn and grow.