Friday, November 19, 2010

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving: Praise, Be Appreciative, Don't Demand Thanks

Show Children You Are Grateful for Them

We have been celebrating the eight working days before Thanksgiving. With the Eight Days of Thanksgiving (and with only four more working days before Thanksgiving) we hope to inspire thankfulness in children by showing your appreciation for them and making sure we praise and scold children appropriately.

Children don't come into the world hardwired to be appreciative. They learn to be grateful over time. Before kids can show concern for other's feelings they have to feel loved and cared for loving attention enables them to develop empathy.

Beside TLC, you can cultivate gratitude by tuning children into the pleasure of being appreciated. For instance, you might tell your charge, "I'm so happy to care for a little girl like you," to express how thankful you are to have her in your life.

Praise and Scold Appropriately
When a child does perform an act of kindness, be sincerely appreciative. Say things like, "I'm so proud of you for sharing the toys at preschool." More than anything else, kids want to make you happy, so when she does, shout it from the mountaintops. As she gets older, she'll still appreciate your support, but will behave in a generous fashion because it makes her feel good. At the same time, if the preschooler behaves selfishly, be sure to let her know. "It makes me and your friend sad when you grab toys away. Why don't you take turns?"

In an article entitled, "How to Teach Children to be Thankful," on ehow it reads, "Reward children with your time and love and not always a material object. Plan a special cooking time, or an hour of your undivided attention as an incentive for a wonderful gesture or thoughtful action your child performed."

Don't Demand Thanks
Instead of scolding or shaming a child when he isn't courteous or grateful, praise him when he is. Practicing being thankful takes time, so be patient.

Amanda Rock, Guide


Lisa said...

What helps children learn to be thankful is not just when you are thanking them, but when they see you be grateful to all types of other people. From teachers, to sales clerks, librarians, etc. Seeing and hearing you do it speaks volumes.

Nanny Summer said...

I see (uneducated) nannies yelling at their charges all the time in town. They don't know how to discipline properly. They love their charges dearly, but don't know any other way to get the kids to listen so they yell. Thankfully I think the yelling goes in one ear and out the other for the kids, but still I wish I could teach them about positive reinforcement. I wish I could tell them when you yell you are the one really out of control.