19 Nov 2014

On Motherhood :: Teaching Toddlers to be Thankful

I've been doing this 31 days of prayer thing for our kids... It hasn't been easy keeping up but i'm so thankful for the reminder of the areas of their lives that are truly important. I know these little years are incredibly influential and the things they learn in our home will form and shape their characters.

Day 30 - Gratitude

"Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:20; Col. 2:7)

I so long for my kids to have thankful hearts. I found this great article on Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, which really strikes a cord with me since the stores around here already have Christmas stuff and i'm trying to teach our 3 year old that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa and presents. Thanks commericialism :/ The article is directed more to older kids but I love how she quotes that,
“Marketers want to accomplish two things with our children:

  1. Awaken and amplify their desire to consume
  2. Blur the line between wants and needs.” Source

And this combination is creating a generation of children who aren’t grateful, who expect everything to be handed to them and don’t really know how to work and this breeds the greatest enemy of all: discontentment.
But if “true godliness with contentment is great wealth” (1 Timothy 6:6), then discontentment leaves us spiritually bankrupt and completely empty. See why teaching gratitude from an early age is such an important thing?
Here's a few things we're working on...
1. We teach our kids sign language and one of the first words they learn before they can even speak is THANK YOU. We ask them to sign THANK YOU when they are given a drink, treat or gift by us or anyone. The great thing is that the sign is 2 syllable and when our kids started speaking this was one of their first words!

2. Encouraging them to pray. When we pray we thank God for the things he has given us. We often ask the what they want to thank God for. When our kids are thankful for the things in their world like pet hedgehogs, and visits to the beach, and their brothers it helps us encourage them when they may complain about the things they don't have.

3. Saying NO. This is a hard one, especially for 2 year olds. Right now our middle son REALLY doesn't like to hear the word "no". But it's such an important lesson to learn, that we can't have everything we want. That in fact our endless desire for things leads to materialism, our endless desire for food can lead to gluttony... and ultimately those things don't satisfy our deepest needs. Saying NO to some things helps us to be thankful for the things that we DO have.

How are you helping your little ones to have grateful hearts?

Just so you don't think he's always sad...