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  1. #1
    threechooks's Avatar
    threechooks is offline If my spelling annoys you that's your problem.... I have better things to do than proofread !
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    Default How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    My 4 year old is acting like a spoiled brat lately and I realise that I can be the only one to blame. He nags and whinges at me for new computer games when he already has a half dozen. He also has a room full of toys. I am about to lose my paitence with him. I just told him that there are some kids in the world that only have dirt and sticks to play with and that he should be happy and grateful for what he has.
    I understand this concept may be beyond him. But the "i wants, I wants" are driving me CRAZY . I do have the cash to buy him games but I don't think he should be getting a new one every week for nothing. How should I change my behaviour so he is a more grateful and satisfied child? Is there an age appropriate way of explaining this to him?

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    Default Re: How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    He learns by seeing what you do... I know it's hard, I have an only Son.

    My advice: stop buying gifts except at birthday or xmas and maybe a couple in between. Donate goods to charity and get him to help you do it, all the while explaining what you're doing and why. Buy a gift for a wishing tree and explain why.

    All you can really do is stop spoiling him if you don't want him to be spoilt.
    Last edited by Happy2be3; 11-12-2012 at 16:36.

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    Default Re: How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    Oh and minimise the advertising he is exposed to if possible.. That way, he'll not be tempted by stuff he wants. (by pass the toys sections, don't take him shopping if at all possible, fast forward kids DVDs that have loads of advertising on them, don't allow him to watch cartoons on the weekends as there are LOADS of kids toys advertisements in between etc etc)

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    SpecialPatrolGroup's Avatar
    SpecialPatrolGroup is offline T-rex is cranky until she gets her coffee.
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    Make him work for things. If there is something that he really wants, put up a rewards chart and every job he does will help him earn more stars. The bigger the item, the more jobs. They don't have to be slave labour jobs, but things like tidying his toys, helping you fold the washing etc. And maybe for added stars, he could select some toys that he is willing to donate to children who don't have anything nice like he does.

    Also remember, until they get to about 5, the world really does revolve around them and no one else.

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    Default Re: How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    This might be a bit tough but at 4 he us getting to the age where he can start to understand concepts. Show him the harsh reality of those in 3rd world countries.let him see some photos or the worlds vision ads and explain how lucky he is because those kids don't get toys and they are lucky to get food. I know it is harsh but it is the reality of life.

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    Default Re: How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    I don't *teach* my 4 year old to be grateful. I sort of expect him to not know how. I expect he'll ask for everything his heart desires without considering consequence or cost, I expect him to demand alternative dinner or a different coloured plate.

    .... and because I expect it where appropriate I'm armed with the magic word...."no".

    Though I do ask him to say thank you if he's given a gift and I demonstrate what gratitude looks liketo him and to others.

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    Default Re: How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    My 3 yr old understands that he can't have everything he wants because we have told him that he can't.

    If you want him to be grateful for what he has then he can't get everything he wants as soon as he wants it.

    Perhaps start giving him pocket money and tell him if he saves up enough then he can buy the things he wants (as long as they are appropriate and you agree to it). It will teach him patience and also the value of money and not having everything handed to him when he wants it.

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    Default How do you teach a 4 year old to be grateful?

    Threec's this sounds exactly like my 3.5 year old did. It stemmed from giving her rewards for everything 'if u sleep thru the night', 'if u poo in the toilet' etc We tried two things
    1) money box, coins were the reward. Build up the coins and you can get a toy. Limited success here, it worked for a few months tho
    2)' the wish list' , I love this one! A friend advised me and its so simple. I never have to say 'no' and thus mostly avoid the dreaded tantrum. Every time DD asks for a toy I say 'sure, put it on your wish list', I explain that when Santa comes (for example), she can pick three things from her wish list. She loves it too and for the most part now asks to put toys on her wish list instead of buying straight away!
    I guess the key (as with everything) is being consistent with whatever you chose. If they see a crack they jump all over it!!
    Good luck!

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    Gothel is offline Skip the drama, stay with Mama!
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    Last christmas DD1 (4yo at the time) ripped open a gazillion presents, then looked at me and said 'where's the rest?' (or words to that effect). I was so disappointed But my mum always says "Kids are the most selfish beings on earth" and she's right, they have no concept of cost, consequences, greed being a bad thing etc etc.

    So with DD1, I try to approach it objectively ie not thinking of her as being greedy, selfish and demanding lol

    So when she asks for something at the shops, I ask her if she has any money. Of course she says no, so I say 'maybe you can earn it' (we do stars at home for small jobs like a PP mentioned). Sometimes she says 'but you have money Mum', which I do, but I come back with 'Yes but I need that to buy the groceries" (or something else that she can see us needing) and then I spin a tale like 'we could buy it but then I wouldn't have any money left to get your cornflakes' or something like that lol

    I dunno, I guess they learn gratitude as they learn the value of things. I would just start by lowering the bar, come up with a few answers that equate to 'no' but that don't make you out to be the baddy withholding the treats.

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    My personal belief is that the more they get the less they appreciate it. My DS 4.5 LOVES toys and always asks to go look at toys but is quite happy with the explanation that they cost a lot of money and we don't have a lot of money we only have 'some' money. I try to keep the terminology simple and remind him we have to buy food and pay the bills first.

    We also only buy toys for Christmas or birthdays (very rarely in between) and he gets a wishlist for then. This year I have noticed he is very insistent about what he wants but we keep reminding him that he doesn't get everything he wants ( a very good lesson I think) but if he is lucky he might get some of them if he tries hard to behave, be kind to others and help out around the house.

    I would rather spend our money on doing activities (swimming, zoo etc) than buying toys just because we can afford them and it keeps him happy for the short term. He loves getting out of the house and doing something new and learning new stuff. Don't get me wrong, he loves his toys and playing with them for a good portion of the day but I dont wan't to breed an air of expectation that we have what we want all the time and we will always get it when we want it. I don't have issues with other people buying toys outside of Christmas and birthdays I just don't know how to stop that expectation I suppose if you do buy them all year around.

    We also have regular toy clean outs for the Salvo's and donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree. I heavily involve him in this and he really likes the concept of helping out.

    I am also very quick to remind him that if he doesn't like what he has I am quite happy to chuck it all in the bin or give it to kids that will care about it. The attitude changes quite quickly!!He always has to clean his own toys up and keep his room clean. He has to help DH outside with jobs each week and as he gets older his job list will increase. I never wanted my children to be spoilt. They are very lucky they have parents that are in a good financial position and will be able to help them out in life.

    If I was you, I would start small and be very firm and consistent. Have a toy clean out, talk about giving. If you can, stay away from shops and temptation and organise to do something new activity wise. If he is upset that he didn't get a computer game explain to him that fun activities cost money and we can't have both. I find my DS really quite enjoys asking questions about how much things cost and how we can't always buy what we want and comparing costs. It is harder to deliver the lesson that you can't have everything than learn it but I am trying so hard to instill it into my children now so it is not such a shock as they get older.

    I think if you aware you are doing it, good on you for doing something about it.

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