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In a world that is increasingly driven by demand, how do we teach kids to appreciate what they have? In this guest post by Upasna Sethi, parenting blogger, gratitude practitioner and self-proclaimed minimalist, you will find the answer.

Do your kids demand every new thing they see in the market or in the commercials? You are not alone in this. Every kid, irrespective of their age, has unending demands and wishes.

But as Parents, how should we respond to these never-ending demands? Shall we give in to each of their demands or shall we stop them?

I hear you– You don’t want to create a scene in the market with a toddler yelling at the top of her voice.

Nor do you want to make your home the pool of things, resulting in less appreciative kids.

The best way is to make them understand but it’s not EASY.

9 ways to teach kids to appreciate what they have. Click to Tweet

Delayed Gratification

No matter how many toys you buy for kids, they always have 1 or 2 things ready on their wish list. Having a wish list is not bad but do not fulfill their list then and there.

Talk to them about the things on their wish list and tell them that you have made note of it and will gift them on a special day.

And when the time comes, make sure to ask them if they still have the thing in their wish list or if it has been replaced by something new.

This is important because their wishes changes so frequently just like their moods.

Make Gratitude a Habit

Image via Shutterstock

Before bringing new things home, let them be thankful for what they already have. Kids are not grateful by default.

Like other habits, they need to be taught about the habit of gratitude and it takes time and practice.

Do not just ask them to say thank you. Involve them in a deeper gratitude practice.

Be careful to include the details. Ask them to be grateful for a toy which makes you all sit together to play, grateful for home cooked or tasty food, grateful for sibling’s help or presence.

The best time to practice Gratitude is in the morning, at the table or before going to bed at night when they patiently listen to what you have to say. Kids follow your actions more than your words. So when you are grateful, they imitate the same

Ask them not to compare

Make them understand that they can’t have everything. This is not true for small kids but you can always try.

Help them appreciate Home cooked food.

Help them appreciate the Cozy bed they have.

When we help them notice these blessings, they will stop comparing.

Teach them to share

The first step towards teaching them is to appreciate them.

Appreciate their small efforts of sharing. Appreciation reinforces their behavior and they will learn to repeat it over time.

Explain the benefit of sharing by live examples. For instance, if they share any eatable with you- tell them that you were hungry and now you are feeling better.

If they share any toy with others- tell them that they made someone smile.

Help them understand the truth of commercials

My 4-year-old always gets attracted to the commercials shown on TV. I tell him that it’s not real.

He does not always believe me but I let him try by himself for small things. Once, he was so delighted by the toy that comes with Kinder Joy but when he opened it and saw the toy- his joy faded away.

I suppose he understood the cheat game of commercials because his fascination with Kinder Joy is gone now.

Fix their spending amount

This is something you can do with older kids.

Fix their pocket money or allowance and tell them that they can only spend that much. This way they will learn the saving skills and make sensible purchasing decisions.

Do not link celebration with spending

We always tend to relate any celebration with spending money and buying things, be it birthday, anniversary or festival.

Let them understand the real purpose behind the festivals.

Festivals should not mean only getting gifts but the occasion for a get-together, doing something for loved ones and time to explore creativity.

Help them give back

Teach them the power of giving and the joy it gives to others and self.

Make charity a custom. Tell them that not everyone gets what they need and they should help those people.

Ask them to choose one of their belongings to be given away; to someone in need.

This also helps them realize the value of money, given their age.

Involve them in household chores

When kids are involved in the daily chores, they will appreciate others doing it for them.

You can engage kids in the chores according to their age. Even a toddler can set a dinner table or clean up a floor full of toys.

It does not matter if they create a mess . What they learn out of it, matters.

Here are some important reasons why all kids need to do chores.

Let them move out of the bubble

If our Kids don’t get out, it is not easy for them to appreciate what they have.

They need to move out of their comfort zone called Home and experience the real world out there.

While we all want our kids to appreciate what they have, but it is the process which takes time and effort.

Every little effort of ours count and it helps them to transform into Grateful human beings.

Raising kids in a world of instant gratification? It's important to cultivate a healthy habit of gratitude in children while they are young. Here are 9 ways to help kids appreciate what they have. #PositiveParenting #Minimalism #Gratitude #Shailajav

About the Guest writer: Upasna Sethi

Upasna Sethi is a parenting blogger, gratitude practitioner and self-proclaimed minimalist. She shares her own parenting struggles and solutions as the mother of two kids. Her quest for minimalism and gratitude led her to publish an e-book on minimalism and an app for daily gratitude.

Follow her blog here. You can also follow her on Instagram,Facebook, Twitter.

Featured image and pin images via Shutterstock

Images of Girl holding flowers, kids sharing apple, mother and son with pocket money and donation boxes via Shutterstock.

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Jayanthy Govindarajan · February 3, 2019 at 8:35 am

Lovely post Upasna. Thanks for the share Shy. I really enjoyed reading this. As a mother to a toddler, at times I am confused how to talk her into doing something. I struggle to do the sweet talk with anyone for that matter. So, when it comes to my baby girl, I have decided to learn to do the sweet talking to get things done. When I put the effort, it helps. The points stated here are do-able with buckets of patience and it will pay off well. So I am trying these. Thanks and Happy Sunday.

    upasna · February 6, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks a ton, Jayanthy. I must say I have learned a lot in the last year how to get things done from a Toddler without losing your sanity. I really hope this post helps us all.

Obsessivemom · February 4, 2019 at 10:19 am

That’s real food for thought. Somedays I am appalled at their lack of gratitude. I do the list thing – I’ve asked them to make a list in order of priority from which I can pick things when I want to get them something. And it’s interesting how often they cross things off on their own. They understand commercials too but the sharing remains an issue. Thanks for the post Upasana, Shailaja.

    upasna · February 6, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Sharing is something I too struggle with or I must say my Toddler struggles with. Listing down is a great idea. I always try to give away his things in front of him. Rather I ask him to give to the needy with his own hands so that he gets to know how much joy giving brings. I am sure once he grows up, he will realize it. Thanks for your feedback Tulika.

Anamika Agnihotri · February 4, 2019 at 12:12 pm

These are wise and useful tips for teaching gratitude to children. In this age of consumerism, it can be difficult to teach them the value of what they already have instead of going for that next thing.

    upasna · February 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks, Anamika. This is something they need to learn while they move ahead in Life.

Rachna Parmar · February 5, 2019 at 9:36 am

It is tough to teach gratitude to kids. Especially when most times they are not really lacking anything. These are good tips, Upasna. It is tough especially with all the peer competition, but I think my kids are doing reasonably well in this area. I see them demand less and not own too many redundant things.

    upasna · February 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Moms like you are the perfect examples of raising grateful kids Rachna. Thanks for your feedback. Yes, Kids, today doesn’t have a lack of things. This makes me worried and pushes me to inculcate gratitude towards every small thing.

Mayuri Nidigallu · February 5, 2019 at 11:29 am

Thank you for sharing this lovely post by Upasna, Shailaja. Kids today have a lot more awareness and exposure than we had. Parents are more indulgent too, some out of guilt a they can’t spend enough time with kids.
These tips by Upasna should help parents make kids understand the value of a lot of things. Really helpful post, Upasna.

    upasna · February 6, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    You know what, I always try to maintain the balance. I buy the toys that help creative juices to flow and involve my Toddler for long. I try to tell him that not everything shown on TV is true. You are right, Kids have a lot more exposure which creates a problem. Thanks for reading and your feedback.

Vidya Sury · February 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Very nice points, Upasna! I like to think I parented fairly well, but you know it is a constant learning process. Teaching gratitude and the value of things is so important, especially these days when virtually everything is too easily available.

Thank you Shailaja.

    upasna · February 6, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    You are right Vidya ji. Everything is available just at the click of the mouse. We don’t tell our 4-year old that things can be ordered this way too. He often says “kab leke doge” and we reply jab apko chahiye hoga tab le denge.

Shivangi · February 6, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Those are some really good food for thought for millennial parents. I think by appreciating the things they have, kids will also learn to experience a sense of fulfillment/contentment in themselves. And this feeling in itself is necessary to make them pull down their illegitimate demands.

    upasna · February 7, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks Shivangi. Putting a tab on the things they own is important.

Shilpa Garg · February 8, 2019 at 10:02 am

These are great pointers, Upasana. Attitude of gratitude and not comparing with others is so important. With peer pressure, high awareness and exposure and easy availability of everything, kids now-a-days, dont value the things that they have. As parents, we need to step back and reflect and instill the right habits early on. Thanks for a wonderful post!

    upasna · February 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I believe we all need reminders and I hope these points will help us all. Thanks for reading and sharing your feedback Shilpa.

A.O steve · March 9, 2019 at 12:16 pm

what an insightful article,teaching them to give back is a better way of teaching them to appreciate people around them and to make them understand no one have it all.

Natasha · March 26, 2019 at 2:33 pm

This is such a wonderful piece of sharing Upasana. Thank you.
Teaching them to be grateful for what they have, even the little things, teaching them gratitude for the day is a brilliant exercise, and to help them list out the things they want and then make the choices, to make special occasions more about sharing and love and not gift oriented.

Thank you Shailaja for hosting Upasana.

    upasna · April 18, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks Natasha. WHen Kiddo says Thank you I ask him to be secific by giving examples as he is too youg to understand.

Robert · April 30, 2019 at 3:14 pm

Very right points you shared here. This duty of parents to teach their kids to be grateful what they have. Thanks for sharing again.

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