Tot Talk Tuesday: Teaching Appreciation

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Okay, so yesterday’s post was all about showing your appreciation for all of those extra-special people in your child’s life.  Well, I have to follow-up with this one today: how to teach your kid to be grateful.

Ellie-the-Elf “visited” our home last night and left a little token for my own little elves: holiday-themed socks.  I thought they were cute.  Kate (5 1/2 years) did not.  She stormed into my room early this morning as I slumbered away, “Mom!  Ellie left socks.”  She said with disdain.  “Uh?” I rolled over and rubbed my eyes.  “Oh that’s nice, Kate.  Let’s talk about this later.”  Kate is a super-early bird.  It was too early, especially for this. 

When I came downstairs at 10 to seven, mind you (such a bum sleeping the day away, huh?), Kate continued to complain.  “I wanted something exciting.  This is not exciting.  Maybe make-up?”  She lost her lip gloss that Ellie gave her within a day.  Besides that, I am not at all condoning the use of make-up till she is 21–at least.  I rolled my eyes and continued to rush around getting breakfast on the table.

She fussed and whined and complained.  I was losing it but tried to keep my cool.  These kids are darned lucky they even get gifts from an elf.  I mean, come on!  And that’s when I blurted out, “Well, maybe Ellie won’t come tonight.  Not only are you disrespecful, but now you are being greedy.”  She stuck out that bottom lip and continued to have a sour attitude until I put her on the bus (at which point I shouted for joy!). 

So, the elf is not coming tonight.  Ellie will pen a letter to Kate and explain (again) that she only visits kind, happy, and grateful children.  But, I am not convinced that will work for the long haul.  So, what else can I do to promote a season of more kind- spirited behavior?

  • Some kids may “get” the idea that others have less than them…but not all kids do (I think Kate might be in the latter category).
  • I could do some more role-play with her….”You be the person giving a gift and I will be the receiver.  Let’s practice how you respond.”
  • Perhaps reverse-pyschology would work.  When she shows me something she is proud of (art, a gross-motor feat), I could act unimpressed, “Oh, big deal.  That’s not exciting.” I don’t know…that could have harmful effects. 
  • Maybe just the idea that I am unhappy with the idea of her being such a crab will bother her so she’ll stop.  It worked with me when I was a kid–that look from my dad and the words, “I’m very disappointed in you,” sure turned my attitude around.  

 As if playing an Elf every night wasn’t enough….exaperating!  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to eat one of those tasty Reese’s holiday trees while I mull this over.

About leslie1218

Author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) frantically working on a novel that should be ready for submission this fall. Mom of two spritely redheads & one chubby basset hound whose stories & images appear in my writing from time-to-time.

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