How do you teach kids to be appreciative and not spoiled little brats? This was a question one of our mom readers sent to us (well, I embellished a bit, she didn’t use the word brat). Raising kids is not an easy job, and then to try and raise them to be appreciative, polite little humans? It’s not a job for the weak that is for sure! So what can you do? Here are some of my own suggestions for teaching your kids to appreciate others!
Related: How to Avoid Raising a Bully
Teaching Your Kids to Appreciate Others
Please and Thank you
It seems so basic, but this is the foundation of having your children grow to be polite and appreciative little people. Before my daughter could talk, if someone gave her something or complimented her I would say ‘Say thank you’. Obviously she couldn’t talk yet but she was learning that after an action or words, you say ‘thank you’. I have had strangers praise her for being such a polite little girl when she says please or thank you and not being prompted to say so (not trying to brag, just stating a fact). Heck even I have been surprised when she has said ‘Thank you’ for something!
Give to others
Every year I take my daughter shopping around Christmas time and she is to pick out a toy she wants to donate for a toy drive. I know torturous right? I want her to know there are children less fortunate than she and that giving things to others, even though you may want it for yourself, is a very kind thing to do. That being said, I wish we did this more often throughout the year and not just around the holidays.
Give them responsibility
You can easily search Pinterest (or Google) for a chore chart that is age appropriate. You don’t want to run around all day picking up after everyone (hubby included, don’t kid yourself). We all know that is a thankless job. Until you get your little humans involved. Confession: I was never very good at telling my daughter to pick up her toys. Her room looked like a tornado had gone through, everything on the floor, you couldn’t even see the floor. This has changed. She is to pick up her room, the idea is to put away what you are playing with before you take something else out. If not, it goes in a box and you have to earn it back (thank you Pinterest!) The idea is they learn to appreciate others’ hard work and effort.
Stop the little purchases
Guilty. But I like to give myself a little credit and say that I did not do it all the time. For example, I went to the store one day and warned my daughter “We are only here to get dog food, nothing else, so do not ask for anything”. Never fails, we are in the checkout and she asks for some Tic-Tacs “ok yea sure”. But didn’t I just say going in that I wasn’t going to get her anything so don’t ask? Guilty. In my own defense I no longer do this, for a few reasons. For one, I don’t want my child to go grow up spoiled, greedy and unappreciative. If she always gets everything she asks for, what is she learning? For two, it is an unnecessary expense and in a time where I am trying to save money, a dollar here and a dollar there adds up quick!
It is possible to raise little, appreciate people. It is the little things that all add up. Sort of like how the little purchases add up over time, so do instilling manners and values into your child. When my daughter asks for things and I say no and she gets upset (you know, like a typical child) I have taken a few minutes (not every time) to explain how you can’t always have things you want, and what being a spoiled child is.