We have a lot to be thankful for during this pandemic. But here’s how we can teach thankfulness to our kids.
Real thankfulness and gratitude are hard to come by nowadays. Known as utang ng loob, there are some who twist it which is why some young adults see it as shackles on their ankles. Teaching thankfulness and gratitude starts with our kids at a very young age and we need to be mindful of how we communicate it. Especially now with how there’s new modern lingo, here are ways to teach thankfulness to our kids.
1. When our kids make a mistake, thank them for trying.
We’re quick to react with disciplinary action when our kids make a mistake. But, we have to remember that we were once like them, too. They’re already feeling bad that they made a mistake or didn’t meet our expectations. Instead of nitpicking on what went wrong, we can thank our kids for the effort they put in. It’ll also make them less fearful of failure and more resilient if they know that their efforts result in something good.
2. Ask our kids at the end of the day things they’re thankful for
In Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice listed 6 impossible things before eating breakfast. Doing so made her realize that she could do the impossible. The same concept applies to thankfulness but instead of during breakfast, dinner time would do. Thankfulness is a feeling best experienced like dessert: it’s sweet and at the end of the day. Remind our kids it doesn’t have to be big and congratulate them for being able to communicate what they’re thankful for.
3. When something bad happens, ask them what good they got out of it.
We always tell our kids to “take the good and leave the bad” when something happens. Especially during this pandemic, we find it difficult to find something good. Our kids are probably thinking the same way but aren’t sure how to say it. It takes a little prompting on our part and a willing ear to help them process their thoughts. Sitting down and processing with our kids how to express thankfulness can teach them that it’s normal to thank someone even in bad times.
4. Be specific with what you’re thanking them for
Thankfulness can be strange to our kids because they’re not sure what they’re being thanked for. It starts with us, from washing the dishes or even putting their clothes away. Or, for your teens, thank them for helping us find the password to our phones and emails when we forget what it is. A few extra words when we say, “thank you for doing (insert action here). I really appreciate it!” goes a long way in helping kids realize their worth and value.
5. Have your kids keep a thankfulness bank
It doesn’t have to be a fancy jar but even a recycled toy piggy bank would do. But instead of putting coins, your kids can put in thankfulness slips. All they have to do is write what they’re thankful for. When there are bad times, your kids can just open the bank to look back, ground themselves, and develop better coping mechanisms. Sometimes, verbal confirmation isn’t enough. It needs concrete proof, too.
6. Pay it forward
Many kids, because of the pandemic, fell behind in school. Thankfulness doesn’t have to stop with one person. Your kids can pay it forward by offering to help another one of their friends just like them. Sharing what they have helps them see how people can be thankful towards them. It also teaches them another lesson: to give only what they can really give. Learning how to make promises they can keep is also part of teaching thankfulness and management expectations in kids.
Celebrate World Thankfulness Day with your kids
We have a lot to be thankful for. Whether it’s having food to eat, your kids being able to get high grades in this current school set-up, or being able to come home, it’s those little and simple things that matter. It’s easy to get carried away by all the material things like the latest gadgets and trends but we sometimes forget how those things will eventually lose their value. Teaching our kids thankfulness starts with us wherein we don’t prioritize obtaining the material things but the memories we create with those items.