Parents have been lamenting their kid’s ingratitude since the down of time. Luckily, gratitude’s a learned skill, says Christine Carter, who blogs at raisinghappiness.com, which means you can teach your kids to become more mindful of what they have. Try the skill-builders listed below:
1. Pass the popcorn
Fill a cup with popped kernels (or another healthy finger food) and let it make the rounds at the dinner table. After each guest shares something they’re thankful for, they munch a piece. When the popcorn’s all gone, dinner is served. Then, do it again the next day. This trick, says Carter, “is to find a way to make gratitude routine, so it’s a habit, like putting toothpaste on your toothbrush.”
2. Snap photos
When your older kid complains, hand him a camera with instructions to take pictures of 10 things he loves. Little ones can get the same tantrum-busting effect by drawing pictures of things they’re grateful for.
3. Write thank-you notes
Stock up on stamps and cool eco-stationery and let kids experience why handwritten is better than jetting off a text or an email.