Once my friend asked my opionion, “How to make someone grateful…”
It’s indeed very simple.
Just take out what’s precious from them and they’ll realize how grateful they are to have that precious thing before it’s taken from them (By taking out, I don’t mean to literally taking out. Just keep it away for a certain period of time).
For example, for a kid. His mom is really precious to him. She always takes care of him daily. Once she gets sick and can’t take care of him. He’ll feel grateful at that time.
Here’s a more scientific insight from my friend, Ellese.
Whenever we need to encourage a particular behavior, we can always use the Pavlovian conditioning of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance. Like what you were suggesting, relate to the kid the importance of being grateful of important things in life that he may be taking for granted i.e. the mum by taking it away temporary. That is pain avoidance. The kid learns to treasure whatever he has now that he’s been through the possible loss/pain.
The other way is to educate him on the pleasure part. Teach him what’s the benefits of being grateful… tell him stories of people who’ve been grateful and became so admirable that stories of them were passed down. Encourage them to learn from them. Sooner or later, such wonderful stories will be embedded in the subconscious, always reminding him the importance and benefits of being grateful.
You can use this tip to make your kid grateful.
To be honest, I’m experiencing it now. I’m grateful to my house servants and babysitter. Why? Because they all left for their annual vacation (we call it “mudik” in Indonesian, and all house servants are “mudik” now) and my wife and have to keep my house tidy ourselves, including washing clothes, watering the garden, and cooking.
I sure wish my Malaysian friend, Raymond Chua, to come and visit me. You know, since his hobby for stress relieving is cleaning!