There is so much in our modern world that is teaching children anything but gratitude. They see friends from school coveting and asking for more and better items. There is advertising on TV and online that is made to convince them they need what they do not have. However, we are commanded in the Bible to not covet others’ things, and instead, to be content with what we have. Here are a few ways to teach your child not to covet, but rather, to enjoy what they have!
Teach them to practice gratitude
This can work well preemptively, as well as whenever your child is coveting what they do not have! There is no one “right” way to do this, but there are many small ways to include gratitude in your day-to-day lives. One way that is great for children of all ages is to teach them to thank God for at least one thing when they pray each day. This can be a great addition to dinnertime prayer! Another way to help them practice gratitude is to have them focus on what they have. With younger children, have them count how many they have of certain items, like toys or books! With older children, have them reflect on all that they have, whether they were given it or bought it themselves. What are a few of their favorite clothing items, books, or pieces of equipment (like instruments or athletic equipment)?
Encourage them to give, not take
One way is to encourage them to give part of their allowance or earnings to those in need. Help them research causes that they care about. Some great examples of child-friendly charities are helping lower-income families afford school supplies, organizations like World Vision that support children domestically and abroad, and local animal shelters. Give your child the chance to learn about how that money will help people or animals who do not have as much as they do.
Set a good example, and talk children through your choices
It all starts with us, parents! Children are amazing at picking up on what the adults in their lives feel and do, so make sure you are setting a great example. Do you talk about how much you wish you looked like someone else in front of your child? Do you complain about how outdated your clothes are, or how you wish you had more tools? Take the time to talk to your child about how you choose to be content, and not covet what other people have.