EXPERT Q&A

How can I help my kids be more appreciative?

It is human nature for us to want more, and kids are no exception to this. Martha discusses some ways in which we can practice more gratitude and appreciation for what we have.

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Question

My spouse and I have never had or wanted a lot of things. Since having kids, however, our house has been overtaken by kids’ toys. And yet, our children seem completely unsatiated and are always wanting more.

We demonstrate gratitude each saying what we are grateful for when we pray, but this doesn’t seem to do the trick. Do you have any other suggestions?

Answer

Great news! You are on the right track! Including gratitude in your prayers is an excellent way to model being grateful for the things we have. 

Modeling gratitude is key! Say what you’re grateful for throughout your day and your children will follow. And be specific. When your children or spouse do something, explain why you appreciate what they did.

You can also help your children create a list of things they are grateful for. It can be beneficial for them to see all the things they’re grateful for in one place. Your children can write these in a daily journal or they can write each item on a scrap of paper to store in a jar. As they see the jar filled with papers over time, they can see all the things they appreciate in their lives.

As for toy overload, this is a hard problem to solve, especially since children love their toys! In fact, research shows that play is important to children’s development. However, too many toys can be distracting and may limit children’s play. 

To address toy overload, start by rotating toys so that not all toys are available at any given time. When children have access to everything at once, they can struggle with too many choices and end up not playing with anything. Also, help your children create good memories around the toys that are out. Carve out 30-45 minutes per day for undistracted playtime with you and your child. These positive experiences will help them build positive associations with their toys. To learn more, listen to this podcast episode on Toy Overload.

We hope this helps and are here for follow-up questions!

Meet The Expert


Martha Tyler

Martha has her Masters in Education and is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She has worked as a sitter, nanny, tutor, or teaching artist over the past 20+ years. In addition, Martha has hosted a child care podcast, Chronicles of Nannya, for several years. She is also the co-founder of Compassionate Childcare LLC and is thrilled to be able to share her experience, knowledge, and resources with CareNectar!