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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


How to Raise an Appreciative Child - Parent's Tips

By Andrew Loh

Gratitude is a strange dictionary word. It has many connotations and meanings. You show gratitude only when you get something in return. The word "gratitude" has many sides to it. Let us also presume that someone presents an article to you. As a complement, you would say, "Thank you". Let us presume another scenario. Unfortunately, you are in a bad financial problem. One of your friends help you by lending you some money. To thank his help, you will say, "Thank you so much, you have been so helpful". Consider this scenario! Someone opens a door for you in a shop. You will thank the person who helped by saying, "That was wonderful of you. Thank you so much".

Now, let us consider your children. One of your relatives visit your home and presents some toys to your children. However, your children will never offer either a simple "thank you" or "you are so nice" to the visitors. Children are not known to be appreciative towards other people. Gratitude or appreciation is a social skill that takes your children a long time to develop. Fortunately, parents can use several methods to raise their young children to demonstrate a deeply appreciative character.

The action should start from you

Children never come to this world ready-made to appreciate others. Everyone including adults will learn the art of appreciating over duration. However, children often take more time to learn the art because of the developmental stages that are required to learn this art. Parents should shower love and affection on their children for all the good work carried out by them. Empathy originates from care and nurture. The action should start from you. When someone does a favor for you, you should thank him or her. If your children are in front of you when you thank someone, they will also pick up the art of appreciation and thankfulness.

Keep on appreciating your children

When you appreciate your children for their good work, they will think that someone is actually caring for them. This simple gesture will lead your children to follow that gesture towards others. Here are some examples of how you can appreciate your children:

  • "You are so helpful to me. I am happy to have you as my child"
  • "Oh! Did you finish that project? I appreciate your hard work"

The power of "thank you"

The word "thank you" is very powerful tool to create personal relationship among two people. For example, when a small child helps his or her mother in sundry chore, she should thank her child without fail. This kind gesture should start right in the home and through the mouths of parents. Explain the power of these two words to your children. Make sure that you use it every day and when it is possible.

Never demand your children to say thank you

Your children should thank someone from their hearts. You should never force them to say thanks to someone. It should not be a "you-should-say-so" type of demand from parents. Instead of showing aggressiveness or using intimidation strategy, you may tell your children, "I really like you when you say thank you to someone for their help or favors". Parents should reinforce this positive behavior gradually over time. Your children will learn this art slowly, but with a sense of conviction.

Note: Never punish your children if they do not say thank you to someone.

Find out the reasons for negative behavior

There are several reasons for a child to show an ungrateful behavior. Often, children may be tired, angry or depressed for some unknown reasons. You should find out the reasons why your child is not learning the good social behavior.

Consider your child's temperament

Some children are weak in their temperament and emotional make up. Such children take some time to learn the art of appreciation. Children, with conversation skills and interaction, tend to learn the art of appreciation very quickly. For an introvert, the time taken will be usually very long. Children mean what they speak because they speak only those things that are in their minds. If you child's temperament is weak, you should consider his or her ability to learn the art. Give ample time for your children to learn the art. Be calm while teaching the art.

Teach your children to help others

Helping others is a great way to learn social interaction. This will help receive empathy and appreciation from others. When your children help others, some of them are likely say thank you. Consistent gestures of helping will transform your children to return the behavior of appreciation when others help them.

The art of learning appreciation or thankfulness is a lifelong process. Parents should cultivate this habit between their children so that people appreciate and thank them forever.

Featured Resource

Let's Be Thankful
By Hallinan P.K

With rhyming verses and brightly colored illustrations, P.K. Hallinan gently shows youngsters how to be thankful for all the blessings in their lives. Hallinan's simple approach will help teach children to be thankful for small things and big things and everyday things. This is the perfect book for introducing and reinforcing the practice of gratitude. For ages 4-8.

P. K. Hallinan has been writing and illustrating books for children for more than 35 years. He writes inspirational stories about holidays, relationships, and life values. In addition to being a prolific author and illustrator, P. K. is an ordained minister and a well-known school speaker. With colorful illustrations and charming verse, this book acknowledges people, animals, and activities that bring joy to a child's life.


Featured Resource


Child Development

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