Raising kids is hard. You want to give them everything their hearts desire, but you never want them to act ungrateful or spoiled. Instilling a sense of humble gratitude and respect from an early age is incredibly important, though not always easy. So, we compiled a list of some tips and tricks you can weave into your daily routine to help your kiddos grow up into the amazing people you know they can be.
Let Them Clean Up Their Own Messes
When kids are done playing with a toy or game, enforce that they have to put away their toys and tidy up their space before they can move on to another activity. Set up designated toy storage bins so there's no question as to where things should go. This teaches them to respect their space, and to treat their things with care. Teach kids that toys left behind on the floor will get stepped on and broken, and will not be replaced, but if toys get picked up, they’ll be available to play with every day.
If you’re having a hard time enforcing this one, try setting up a ‘Toy Jail’ and locking away toys that get left out. To earn the toy back, kids must complete a chore or another pre-determined task. All you need is a plastic storage tote and a marker. This mom even used a catchy poem:
This leads me into my next point:
Have Rules and Stick to Them
Your child is going to push boundaries and test limits. It’s in their nature and is part of growing up. However, it’s important that you remain steadfast in enforcing reasonable rules. Kids should know that if they leave their room a mess, they’ll be doing extra chores that day. Or if they fight with their siblings, they’ll lose TV privileges. This teaches responsibility, and accountability for their actions.
Don’t Give In!
It’s admittedly hard not to give into your kid’s every whim, especially once they’ve mastered the art of pushing all of your buttons at the same time. If your kids learn that you’ll cave after 10 minutes of pestering, they’ll use this to their advantage. It’s important to set a sense of realism from an early age, and for them to understand they can’t have it all. Helping your child understand whythey can’t have everything they want, rather than hard no’s, is the most effective.
That being said, it’s impossible to be a stickler at all times. On those special occasions where you do end up having ice cream for dinner, make sure kids know that this is a treat, and not a once-a-week indulgence. These special occasions often make for the best memories, so go forth and have fun.
Lead by Example
If your kid sees you on your phone at the dinner table, they’re going to think it’s OK to play on their tablet at the dinner table. But, if they see waiting patiently in line, and thanking the cashier at the grocery store, they’ll learn that polite and respectful behavior is the norm. We all know this is way easier said than done, and no one is perfect, but it’s important to really make an effort here. When slip-ups do happen, offer a thoughtful and logical explanation as to why.
Raising a grateful and respectful child isn’t easy, but with a little work and determination, it’s very possible. Let us know what you do to prevent your kiddos from being spoiled in the comments below!