From sheltering your child from the rain to putting his/her food on the table, we all know how it feels like to have a sense of satisfaction when we do something special for the ones we love. If you find yourself too busy performing all these tasks, with no time to spare in teaching your child the roots of having a grateful heart, think again.
Scientists at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkerly have recently conducted a research to understand gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. From the findings, they found a host of benefits enjoyed by individuals who practise gratitude regularly, which includes feeling less lonely and isolated, and living life with more joy and optimism.
Similarly, a child who is appreciative is such a joy to behold. Here are some things you can do to nurture gratefulness in your child:
- The Quintessential Thank You
Teach your child to always be mindful about his/her manners and observe etiquette. There are no boundaries for saying ‘thank you’, so whether it’s the bus driver who halts his bus so that your child can board, or a waiting staff who has just refilled your child’s glass of water, ‘thank you’ might just brighten the day for everyone.
- Be A Doer of Appreciative Deeds
One just can’t say he/she appreciates someone by paying lip service. Where being appreciative is concerned, you can always teach your child to do something for someone who loves him/her. For example, your child could use his/her savings to buy a thoughtful gift for that person.
In What makes A Champion, Professor Emeritus Allan Snyder (Editor), who coined the term ‘Champion Mindset’ writes about Prof Gavin Brown, a distinguished mathematician, who said: “Champions have the capacity for critical vision but it is their thirst to be doers that sets them apart.”
- It’s All from the Heart
In everything that your child does, coach him/her to do it from the heart. That is, it is not merely about doing just for the sake of it – he/she should mean it as well. Inevitably, there will be moments when your child’s good intentions are either brushed aside or not reciprocated; don’t fret, for that in itself is a learning curve. Continue to encourage your child to do good and the rewarding moment will arrive, sometimes in the most unexpected places.
- Let Your Child Perform Tasks
Preparing a meal or planning a birthday party is time-consuming. If you let your child join in the preparations, he/she will be taught what they entail and they will become more appreciative when they are on the receiving end of such tasks in future.
- Explain to Your Child Why He/She Can’t Always Get A Gift
When you are shopping with your child, there’s a chance you will encounter him/her asking you: “Why can’t I buy it this time?” Thus, you will need to explain the vital concepts of money and budgeting.
Even better, adopt ‘real life’ money calculation. The latest research shows that young minds are able to grasp the complexities of the world through experience, experiment and understanding, and the MindChamps Numeracy Strategies approach is ideally suited to help these young minds. These strategies are developed through grouping and counting exercises, the physical manipulation of numbers and groups, shapes and patterns, and through calculating and experimenting with money denominations.
- Let Your Child be an Active Participant of a ‘Gracious Society’
The Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), stresses the importance of graciousness, philanthropy as well as tolerance, among other acts of kindness. It says: “With every small act of kindness, we create a pleasant society with good social behaviour, and make life better for everyone.”
If your child is considerably young, this will be a great opportunity for you and him/her to practice acts of kindness together. Jointly, both of you can let a disabled person pass first, return the food tray when you are done, or help an elderly who needs directions.
As SKM says: “Kindness, bring it on!”
Let your child make a difference today.
This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.