6 Ways We {try} to Teach our Children Gratitude

The North American Culture is definitely one of “more than enough.” More than enough clothing. More than enough food. More than enough gadgets. More than enough toys. Yet, it seems like many of us still think we need or want more. We are always looking for the next thing. If you are an adult-It may be the latest iPhone, new clothes or new furniture.  If you’re a kid, it might be the latest toy or an iPod.

When will we learn that stuff doesn’t make us happy?

Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

Like really? Does it really matter that the neighbor next door will be impressed by your car or boat? Or that you drive a car that will impress the person next to you at the stop light?  I drive a 2005 paid-for SUV and let me tell you, the feeling of owning a reliable vehicle with no payments is an amazing feeling!

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with owning a nice car or a boat. (Just saying 🙂  )

So how do you teach your children gratitude?

I’m sure that there are many ways. Today, however, I’m going to share some of the ways that we (attempt) to teach our children gratitude.

1. By not buying them all the things that they want.

2. By expecting them to help out at home.

-We expect them to help out because they are part of our family, without reward. We also pay them for some jobs because we want the opportunity to teach them how to handle money wisely.

3. By modeling giving.

-To our church, as well to people in need.

4. By proposing present-free birthday parties

-Last year, we asked all our children if they would be okay with not receiving gifts from their birthday party friends. Instead, we would invite friends with an invitation like this “No presents, please-If you so desire you can bring $5 to donate to Samaritan’s Purse.” Both of our girls chose to do so. Our son did not. It was so enjoyable for them! (And I loved that they weren’t adding more clutter to our house)

5.  By buying them a lot fewer gifts at Christmas time.

-This is something we’ve been doing for several years now. We have been spending no more than $100 on all of our kids together. It’s made it a lot easier to celebrate the birth of Jesus, as the focus was less on gifts. Instead, the focus was more on what the reason for Christmas is.  This is something that our kids are just used to as we’ve done it since they were quite young.

6.  By expecting them to eat at least some of what I make for meals.

-I am not a short-order cook. I generally cook a meal and my kids know to eat at least some of it. That being said, I don’t go out of my way to make foods that they absolutely hate. If I make something I know that they hate, I will try to make sure that there is something else that they will like.

* I want to take a moment to mention that what works for us, may not work for you. Please don’t feel like you have to do everything that we do.

This obviously doesn’t mean that our children are always angelic with tears of gratitude in their eyes. They still complain about what I cook at times. They still whine for that coveted toy. They still complain about things that don’t go their way sometimes.

Just like us adults, they forget how blessed that they are. It’s easy to look at others and see how much of the things they want, that they have. It’s easy to be competitive and wish you could be like others. I’d love to hear how you teach your children gratitude. Take a moment to comment and let me know.

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