Teach your kids to be grateful by giving them less, writes Jenn Choi in The Atlantic.
Tired of her kids’ picky, wasteful eating habits, she consulted Susan Roberts, author of My Kid Eats Everything. Children are less likely to help prepare food, set the table, clear and do dishes, says Roberts. They just sit there and expect to be fed. If the family eats out often, children get used to ordering what they want instead of eating what’s been cooked for the whole family.
Choi decided her eldest son, a 9-year-old, would make the July 4th cheeseburgers. He helped buy the ground beef, then made the patties, grilled them on the barbecue and washed the dishes.
To teach her kids to value their toys, she took them to a Lego store. At the Pick A Brick Wall, they saw children “dumping handfuls of bricks into containers that customers could buy for a fixed price ($7.99 for the small and $14.99 for the large).”
I gave the kids two options: get the small container and not be questioned about its contents or the bigger container but only if they followed my lesson on being resourceful. I would pay for only one option. They chose the latter. So to gain the most value for our money, I asked them to snap a row of same-color bricks together and then carefully place them into the container. . . .
It was a laborious process, but her kids saw they could get a lot more bricks.
After all that hard work of stacking as many as 270 (1×4) bricks into that one container, they poured in their favorite pieces into the many gaps between the stacks. These were tiny translucent studs that they use as “treasures” when they play. Since then, my kids have become more enthusiastic about building and take better care of the bricks they own.
Now, they always go to their favorite bricks first, the ones they worked so hard to get.
And if they’re not grateful for their toys,Choi will pack them up and donate them to someone who will be.
We spent Thanksgiving in the Chicago suburbs with the granddaughters, who are used to getting what they want and own many toys. We gave the five-year-old her birthday present, a family trip to see a child’s version of The Wizard of Oz. They’ll visit us in California after Christmas. Maybe we’ll give them a day at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose.