These days, it seems children are given so much but not often taught the values of appreciation. As grandparents, how can we raise grateful grandchildren?
“Our children are spoilt, get too much and have great expectations of what they should have, ask for, and receive”, said one frustrated Starts At 60 reader.
“Having been to a third world country recently saw the children who have nothing or very little… They make their own games with whatever is laying around”, this SAS reader explained.
“They were happy kids not pouting because they didn’t have the latest video game, Harry Potter book or Barbie Doll”, she added.
It seems Australian children have much more than necessary in 2016. Amidst a culture of consumerism (where more is always more) it’s important to instil an attitude of gratitude.
According to psychologist Jeffrey Froh, gratitude can actually help our grandkids lead happier lives. Appreciative kids have “stronger peer and family relationships and are less depressed”, he said.
“The thing about gratitude is, you can learn it at any age”, said Professor Froh. To teach your child about appreciation, first try to slow down the pace of their busy lives. Talk to them in a quiet moment.
“One of the best ways to become more grateful is to slow down”, explained Professor Froh. “Immediacy and gratitude do not go together”.
Slowing down means kids will take on board new lessons. They will savour a home-cooked meal, or take more time to unwrap a birthday present. As grandparents, a relaxed pace is something we can model.
We can also demonstrate gratitude in our own lives. Using a simple “please” or “thank you” around the grandchildren is a habit they pick-up over time.
Professor Froh also suggested limiting the presents we give our grandkids. He believes experiences often make better gifts than “things”.
“With experiences kids can savour the past by reminiscing by how great the vacation was (and) savour the present by being mindful in the moment”, he said.
Lastly, Professor Froh thinks getting the grandkids involved with volunteering can help them appreciate a more fortunate upbringing.
Volunteering at the local RSL with granddad, or helping grandma make cakes for the local fundraiser can help our grandkids gain perspective.
“This is a way for kids to to create and strengthen relationships, and that is the number one way to make grateful kids”, Professor Froh explained.