The number of kids who profess to hate school largely surpasses the number who say they love it. That’s why many kids fake sick, skip classes, and show up late. A major factor in this behavior comes from a lack of gratitude for education.
Gratitude makes a big difference in a child’s life. Studies show that gratitude creates a more well-adjusted human being and is especially important in a child’s development as it increases the desire to learn and get along with others. However, gratitude is not an easy emotion to instill in children, especially when it involves school.
Here are a few tips that will hopefully get your kids a little closer to expressing thanks for their educators:
1. Be an Example of Gratitude
Believe it or not your kids, even your teenagers, look up to you. They see what you do and often imitate that behavior. Therefore, you can’t expect them to foster an attitude of gratitude for their education if you don’t. Look for what you’ve been given rather than for what you can receive and make sure your kids hear you talk about it. When they complain about a school assignment or how a teacher treated them unfairly, have them also point out the good things about their day at school. They may roll their eyes or glare at you for not taking their side, but the point will eventually stick, and they’ll appreciate your example.
2. Let Your Children Take Responsibility
Help your children learn self-reliance by letting them take responsibility for their actions, particularly for actions involving education. If your kids are allowed to practice autonomy instead of having their parents resolve all school problems, they will begin to recognize their own skills and strengths in school. This in turn will help them realize just how much they have.
You may need to nudge them along in this process, since they may not recognize what they are good at on their own. However, supporting a child’s autonomy does wonders for their ability to recognize what they’ve been given in their education.
3. Encourage Both Intrinsic and Extrinsic Goals
Goal completion is an important step in any child’s development, but it can lead to negative results if the child is solely focused on extrinsic goal completion. The world focuses heavily on having the most wealth and the nicest things. If your children obtain only that, they will likely end up taking it for granted and become prideful—the polar opposite of gratitude.
Teach your kids the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic goals and encourage activities for each category. Their extrinsic goals might be something like getting all A’s and B’s on a report card or making the basketball team. Intrinsic objectives might revolve around such things as giving service weekly or eating healthy foods.
As your kids complete these goals, you may begin to notice an increase in their happiness, social abilities, autonomy, and most importantly, gratitude for those who helped them along the way.
4. Find a School That Fits Their Needs
Sometimes gratitude for education is absent simply because the school they currently attend is not a good match. Though public schools are wonderful institutions, not every child thrives within their walls. There are many alternative schools that will give children what they need to recognize their strengths and abilities. A charter school, even an online charter school, is a great option to consider. These programs are often free or require very low tuition, and their whole focus is on giving individualized attention to each student. Nothing fosters feelings of gratitude like giving children the attention they need to succeed.
5. Expose Children to the Less Fortunate
If you want to show your children how much they really have with formal education, expose them to those who don’t have any schooling at all. There are many documentaries, articles, books, paintings, and reports on the lack of education in less-developed countries. Teach your children these facts to show them how lucky they are to be receiving formal schooling.
You’ll want to do this tactfully. Don’t rub it in their faces or blow the issue out of proportion. If you want your children to take these facts the right way, you’ll want to be kind and gentle when you teach, rather than pushy or pragmatic.
While helping your children form feelings of gratitude won’t be easy, it will be well worth it when you succeed. Grateful kids will grow into well-adjusted, humble, and content adults. What more would you want for your child?
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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!