7 Science-Based Tips on How to Teach Gratitude to Your Kids

Originally From The Epoch Times

As a parent, teaching your child gratitude in this modern world bereft with entitlement can be a challenge. Research shows that out of all the emotions, gratitude is the one with the most positive effect on a child’s overall happiness. Studies have also found a strong link between appreciation and social ability, school performance, and mental well-being.

Here are seven science-based tips you can apply as a parent to teach your child how to nurture gratitude:

1. Work on Being a Role Model of Gratitude for Your Child

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration – Shutterstock | Natalia Lebedinskaia

Young children like to imitate the actions they see in their parents. Try making a habit out of practicing daily acts of gratitude in front of your kids. Let them see you thank people in your life for acts of kindness. Even ask them to help you write “thank you” notes. Be open in expressing appreciation for daily blessings such as health, food, and having a warm bed. This may help them learn the value of being grateful.

2. Spend Quality Time With Your Child and Be Present

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration – Shutterstock | Studio Romantic

Time spent with your kids is precious, and for them to learn to appreciate it, it’s important to remove all and any distractions and be there. Listen to what your children say and show them empathy and understanding—all while bonding with them and learning together what activities you enjoy sharing.

3. Be Supportive of Your Kids’ Autonomy

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration – Shutterstock | Alexander_Safonov

Allow your children to take control of their strengths and ability to develop them themselves. Offering the opportunity to assert their independence constructively is not only valuable for their overall development but will also enhance their feelings of gratefulness. Limit their use of social media and encourage them to grow as individuals with minimal negative influences.

4. Encourage Them to Use Their Strengths

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration – Shutterstock | LightField Studios

To foster more gratitude, you may want to allow them to use their main qualities in day-to-day interactions. Offer them the chance to use those strengths to show their thankfulness by directly talking to people, writing letters, or even showing appreciation creatively with a drawing or a painting.

5. Support Your Child in Achieving Personal Growth Rather Than Material Things

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration – Shutterstock | Lordn

Having the most recent smartphone and designer clothes is something many children and teenagers are likely to desire. Do not neglect to encourage them to pursue goals and activities that add value to their lives, their community, or that increase their sense of achievement. Then remind them to show their thankfulness toward everyone who has offered help and support along the way, such as teachers, and of course parents.

6. Nurture Their Generosity and Encourage Them to Build Friendships

Epoch Times Photo
Illustration – Shutterstock | Africa Studio

When you encourage your children to help others, it can give them a firsthand glimpse into the value of being gracious. It also helps them to create, understand, and nurture positive relations with those around them. Kids will not only learn the importance of generosity but can even comprehend the need to show gratitude towards others.

7. Help Your Kids Discover What’s Important to Them

Helping children learn to pursue their dreams and passions can lead to a sense of purpose. When people find a connection to something bigger than them, they can develop a deep feeling of thankfulness and an ability to become valuable members of society as they grow older.

Planting the seed of gratitude in your child may not be an overnight task. In the words of Voltaire, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Share your stories at emg.inspired@epochtimes.com, and continue to get your daily dose of inspiration by signing up for the Epoch Inspired newsletter at TheEpochTimes.com/newsletter

Don’t Let Them Drown

This subject hits very close to home with me, because our oldest daughter, Michelle, almost drown while she was less than 5-feet from me.

We were visiting my wife’s brother in Sacramento, so decided to take a dip in the swimming pool at his apartment. She hadn’t taken swimming lessons yet, so we stayed next to her while she held on to the coping.

We were talking and I turned to my left and saw Michelle no more than two feet from the edge and grabbed her quickly. Imprint the signs below, because they are real. I will never forget the look on her face…………….. and think about this for a moment, while she was in the throes of drowning, she didn’t make one sound.

The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In some of those drownings, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.* Drowning does not look like drowning—Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the Instinctive Drowning Response like this:

  1. “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK—don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

How Did We Survive Growing Up In The 50s And 60s?

First of all, we survived being born to and raised by mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and then exposed us to second-hand smoke on an ongoing basis.

There were all sorts of things we dealt with that would be frowned on today, but somehow we survived.

  • We took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
  • Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
  • We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
  • As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags.
  • Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
  • We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
  • We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
  • We ate cupcakes, white bread, and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
  • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
  • No one was able to reach us all day, because cellphones weren’t invented yet,  And we were O.K.
  • We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
  • We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms……….WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
  • We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
  • We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
  • We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
  • We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
  • Little League baseball had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t make the team had to learn to deal with disappointment or practice to get better. Imagine that!!
  • The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
  • And last but not least, we played on Jungle Gyms to our delight and somehow we able to survive.