Teaching Your Children to Appreciate the Little Things – November 2010

Thanksgiving is a time of year when we all need to take a moment to reflect on life’s blessings and to give thanks. But in this day and age, when so many children have far more than what they need, how can you teach your children to appreciate the little things?

According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “It’s important to remember that a sense of appreciation doesn’t come naturally. We need to help children develop this important quality. We also need to remember that our day-to-day actions speak louder than words.

“It’s critical to serve as a positive role model for your children when working to instill a sense of appreciation in them. If you take everything for granted, your children are bound to as well. Likewise, if you show appreciation, they too will learn a sense of appreciation for the little things in life.”

Stern says that there are several things you can do in your home, your neighborhood, and your community to make a difference in the way your children see the world.

At Home
According to Stern, “As soon as your child begins to speak, you should be encouraging them to say please and thank you.”

She also says that you should take time every day to show gratitude to your children. Thank them for helping you. Show appreciation for good behavior, and recognize when your children put forth extra effort. Soon you will have your children trying harder to please you and feeling better about themselves in the process.

Finally, Stern says that it’s important to celebrate special days in your family’s life from birthdays and anniversaries to Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

“All of these occasions are the perfect way to take time from our hectic lives to let others know how grateful we are to have them in our lives and that we appreciate them.”

In Your Neighborhood
Stern suggests that when a new family moves into your neighborhood, you and your children bake them a treat and then go over as a family to introduce yourselves. This teaches your children how to be good neighbors and caring individuals.

Another great idea is to have your family help someone in your neighborhood who is elderly, injured, or handicapped with lawn care or household projects.

“Taking the time to do a few random acts of kindness with your children goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression about all that we have to be appreciative of,” says Stern.

In Your City
Stern suggests that families identify one local nonprofit organization that helps those less fortunate to support each year. This could include a homeless shelter, an elderly care facility, or a local food bank. Then, as a family, make it a goal to do something positive for this organization each season.

“Donate the clothes and toys you’ve outgrown, bake treats for the people from this organization, or stop by to visit with these people to show your children first-hand how lucky they are to live the life your family leads. It will be a rewarding experience for your entire family and will instill a real sense of appreciation in your children for years to come.”

Ebenezer Child Care Center’s Southside Center, located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee, will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on Teaching Your Children to Appreciate the Little Things on Tuesday, November 10, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Appreciating the little things in life involves focusing on what is pleasurable, nurturing, and sustaining in our lives rather than events that are annoying, frustrating, or hurtful. Come to our November Family Fun Night and learn how to teach your children to appreciate the little things.  You’ll help them find the long-term solution to true happiness! Activities for this Family Fun Night will include making homemade thank you cards and tissue paper flowers and playing with water and measuring cups in the sensory table.  In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call Ebenezer Child Care Center’s main office at 414-643-5070 to register.

    Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally-based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere, individualized, nurturing care, and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development:  cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers a variety of free Family Fun Nights and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at https://www.ebenezerchildcare.com/.