Help Our Kids Learn to Adapt to Changes

3 Ways to Build Contentment in Our Kids

We live in a world where there is a lot of wanting. Many of our wants are reasonable and fair, like the things we really need. Of course we want our families to be cared for, to have a place to live and food to eat. At the same time, most of us can honestly say that we want a lot more than we need. Again, not automatically a negative thing, but it is a thing that can take us over. And it’s no different for our kids. In fact, learning to regulate their wants is a part of maturing and growing for our kids. So how can we help them along? How can we raise kids with goals and dreams while also teaching them to have some contentment and balance? Here are 3 ways to build contentment in our kids.

Let’s make our praise count

When we build our kids up in important areas, we provide them with a good foundation for support when they have a hard time. This sounds like a big job, but it’s actually just a reframing of something we are likely already doing.

As parents, we frequently tell our kids when they are doing a good job. When they share, we tell them that they are doing great. After they sing, we tell them how nice they sound. When they give us their artwork, we tell them what a good job they did. With these comments, we mostly just give the message “good job”. We are praising the one action that they did. If we can adjust this one habit, we can build up important character qualities in our kids. It takes just a bit of thinking through our compliments and attaching them to important areas. 

Areas to notice

Here are some areas to think about: patience, sticking with something, trying again, trying something new, being brave, welcoming other people, friendship and caring, or helping.

So when our kids wait in line with us, we can praise them for being patient instead of just for waiting. When our kids hand us their artwork, we can note the hard work they put into it, or the creativity that they show in it. If we observe our kid sharing with someone, sure, let’s note the sharing, but let’s also mention what a good friend they have been or how caring they are. 

When we reframe our thinking to praise our kids’ character and personal growth rather than their one action, it can be a total game-changer. It helps our kids to pursue these character qualities. It simplifies our rules and expectations. And it gives our kids the tools to feel confident in these areas, giving them tools and support to go forward even when they don’t get their way. It’s a great way to build contentment in our kids.

This is a chance to learn some new signs as well. Check out our Signing Time Dictionary to see easy-to-follow instructions for dozens of signs. Try the signs for friend, or for help, or for feel, or for “my name is.”

Teach them to wait. 

Another way we can build contentment in our kids is to teach them to wait. Instant gratification has become a norm in our society, but knowing how to set goals and wait is a crucial skill for successful, mature kids. We can teach this from a young age, teaching our kids to wait instead of answering demands (in reasonable areas). We can show them how we wait patiently for everyone at the table to be served. When we wait in line at the store, we can talk to them about how we are going to wait our turn, and how the people behind us are going to wait for their turn too. As they grow older, we can tell  them how we save for goals and teach them how to save their own money for things they want. 

When schedule conflicts pop up, we can help them to see how things might have to happen another time. We can build contentment in our kids by showing them that sometimes you have to choose one thing over another. I have a kid who wants to do it all. He has had such a hard time when there are two things he’d like to do at the same time. But he has had to learn that he sometimes has to choose. It took a long time, but now he’s able to choose based on his priorities without feeling upset or like he’s missing out. He’s able to just let it go, and that’s such a valuable skill. 

Help them to accept and grow from failure

We all mess up, and we all face disappointment. There will be times that we don’t make the team, that we lose friends, that we bomb on stage, and even that we are the ones in the wrong. Let’s teach our kids to take responsibility, but also to show grace to others and to themselves. We can show them how to accept forgiveness when it’s given and to know they’re loved even if they mess up. We’ve all heard eloquent quotes about the things we can learn and the ways we can grow from failure. Let’s push that perspective in our homes, with our kids, and with ourselves. Knowing how to learn from failure is a big way to build contentment in our kids.

And of course, in each of these ways to build contentment in our kids, it’s important for us to be modeling them as parents. Let’s build each other up, let’s show patience, and let’s grow through failings. 

At My Signing Time, we think all kids should be built up to feel confident and capable of expressing themselves. And our shows reflect that priority, whether they are about signing or drawing or experimenting or learning, we make sure to encourage kids as they learn. We want kids to dream big and to know how valuable they are. Check out our fun, encouraging, educational shows at My Signing Time!

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