Raising grateful grandkids can certainly be challenging.
And we’ve all heard it…
The good old “Can I have…?” or “I want…”, and it can be truly daunting to say no to a grandkid.
Let’s be perfectly honest, part of being a grandparent is to shower your grandkids with gifts and treats. Especially around the holidays and birthdays it’s easy to go overboard with these materialistic presents. But you might want to ask yourself, does the latest gadget or toy make them better or happier? Definitely not.
Probably the single biggest gift you can give them is to teach them gratitude. It’s a proven fact that grateful people are likely to be more happy, hopeful, positive and physically energetic. Most of all, they also tend to be more satisfied with their lives, have better relationships with family and peers, and also earn better grades.
Consequently, simple activities that model gratitude can help children make it a habit for life. Here’s a roundup of the 5 best practices to raise grateful grandkids.
1. To Raise Greatful Grandkids, Be What You What Them to Be
video via greatergood.berkeley.edu
First of all, if we expect to raise grateful grandkids we need to step up our game as grandparents. While it may be obvious, being what you want them to be gets often overlooked.
Therefore you want to make sure your grandkids see your appreciation when some family member does something kind for you. Encourage your grandchildren to thank, give and be thoughtful towards family members and their peers.
2. Help Them to Recognize Value of Gifts
Many kids are pressured to become more materialistic due the consumer culture that surrounds them. While it’s almost impossible to avoid this materialistic trap, you can help your grandkids to understand the good intentions and sacrifice behind the benefits they receive from others and the personal value of each gift.
As a result, teaching them to think that way shapes a natural habit and helps to raise grateful grandkids.
3. Teach Them to Handle Difficult and Negative Emotions
Research shows that kids who can regulate their negative emotions are at advantage for developing gratitude.
For example, when your grandchild cries over a project he made that ruined, it’s better to validate his feelings in a calm way – “You worked hard on that, no wonder you feel sad” – rather than to resist he stop crying or to minimise his feelings by saying that the projects looks fine to you.
4. Limit Media Exposure and Materialism
Another reserarch by Gewn Bachman Achenreiner shows that messages children are receiving from popular culture are very toxic. Kids are strongly affected by media and it influences their materialistic values.
Therefore, to help raise grateful grandkids you should make them appreciate what they have. While as grandparents we love giving our grandkids nice things, they don’t need to be extravagant. You want to limit the materialism and encourage them to give others.
5. Ask Them What They Are Grateful For
Finally, part of understanding gratitude is talking about it. According to Jeffrey Froh, author of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, “early adolescents who counted their blessings became more grateful, optimistic, satisfied with their lives and experienced fewer negative feelings”.
In addition, very useful practice is to lead your grandkids to journaling as part of their regular routines in the morning and evening. It can be as simple as asking three simple questions, for example:
- In the morning:
- What would make today great?
- In the evening:
- When did I smile or laugh today?
- How could I’ve made today better?