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.