The quality of being thankful for the things you have and being appreciative of the people around you sums up the meaning of gratitude. It can be easy to lose focus of the good things in your life and instead focus on the bad or unfortunate things. Gratitude is taking a moment to appreciate all you take for granted, like the food you eat, the air you breathe, and even simple things like clean water. It is important to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. This is because gratitude helps you feel more positive, builds strong relationships, and improves your health and well-being. As a parent, teaching your child to be grateful will help them stay positive in the adversities of life. Gratitude comes with other benefits, like improved sleep, lower stress, and higher self-esteem. Here are some tips for raising grateful children.
1. Be grateful to your children
Leading by example is one of the quickest ways to teach your children to be grateful. Children can be self-focused an early age, so it is important to teach them to be grateful by thanking them whenever they do or say something right. Another way to lead by example is to show them what it means to be grateful. So next time you go to the restaurant, say “thank you” to the waitress or practice saying thank you to your spouse at home. Also, as much as you expect obedience from your children, saying “thank you” is important when they get their chores done. This encourages good behavior and makes them feel appreciated.
2. Gratitude at bedtime
When you tuck your children in at night, take time to ask them about their day and listen to them. Sometimes their day would be bad; other times, it would be good. After every account, ask them what they are grateful for. This will open their eyes to all the little things they might have taken for granted. Being grateful will also keep them positive and ready to face a new day or challenge.
3. A gratitude jar
Counting your blessings together with your child can be fun when you have a gratitude jar. It is an inexpensive way to build a habit of thankfulness, and it only takes a few seconds of your time. Find a container or a mason jar and allow your child to explore their creativity by decorating it. He or she can decorate it with paint, stickers, or glitter. Give your child a piece of paper and a pen, encourage them to write something they are grateful for each day and ask them to drop it in the jar. To encourage the habit, consider adding to the jar by writing down what you are also thankful for. For older children, a gratitude journal is another way to build the habit if a jar is not a preference. Making an entry every day will help cultivate the attitude of gratitude. As time goes by, your child will look forward to making “gratitude entries,” and this will train them to stay grateful.
4. Donate with your children
Making donations can teach your children the importance of giving, but it also teaches gratitude. By donating their clothes and books to those in need, your child will learn to appreciate what they have. However, a donation is not limited to things or money. It can be time spent helping out at a homeless shelter or time spent entertaining the elderly at a senior center. These acts of service will help expose them to different people, environments, and situations. It will help them make a difference in other people’s lives while being grateful for what they have.
5. Teach them to appreciate others with gifts
A simple “thank you” goes a long way, but it doesn’t hurt to add a gift. Giving gifts is a good way to show people how much you appreciate them. A gift re-establishes your connection with others and communicates how you feel about them. Inspire your children to show gratitude to the people around them by helping them make simple gifts. For instance, on Teacher’s Day, you can help them make a batch of cookies to gift to their favorite teachers. Or you can help them make a beautiful painting as a gift for grandma on their next visit.
6. Give them chores
Another tip for raising grateful children is to give them house chores. Chores can be a good way to nip entitlement in the bud. They can also be essential in teaching children to appreciate the things you or other family members do for them. When your child learns that you are not around to meet their every whim, they will always be thankful for what you do for them. Teach them how to cook. Here’s a great bread recipe for kids to try.
7. Focus on togetherness during special occasions
Special occasions like birthdays or holidays can be the perfect time to teach your child to be grateful not only for gifts or lovely goodies but for the gift of family and friends. In times like this, consider opting for an experience rather than a doll. An example could be a visit to the museum or a fun trip. By sharing these experiences with loved ones, your child will learn to value and be thankful for the presence, love, and attention they have received. You can also ask them to write personalized thank you notes to those who gave them other gifts.
8. Make do with less
Isn’t it amazing how grateful you suddenly become when your internet connection is acting up? You start to remember all the times you had a fast connection, and you end up feeling more grateful. As humans, sometimes, it can be easy to get used to things and take them for granted. Once a month, choose something your child can’t seem to live without. It could be their Xbox or a night without pizza for a week or two. This will help your child realize how much he or she really has.
9. Focus on the silver lining
Being grateful is about seeing the good in the bad and learning to be thankful. Life will not always be perfect, but an attitude of gratitude can help your child go through the toughest times. You can teach your child to look on the bright side of things by bringing their focus back to the things they can be grateful for. For instance, if your children are complaining about waking up to school, you can help them realize that it is a blessing to see a new day. You can teach your children to be grateful for all their friends and teachers at school as well.
10. Don’t label them as ungrateful
Sometimes, your children will forget to show appreciation or run off into their own world where their needs come before everyone else’s. This may not be the time to label them as ungrateful. Instead, empathize with their feelings and make them aware of how lucky they are to have the things around them. This might help them have a sense of gratitude.
11. Reverse bucket list
A bucket list is a compilation of everything you would love to do or experience, right? A reverse bucket list, however, is a list of all the things you have done and love. Creating this list will help your child appreciate all the experiences and be thankful for everything they have so far.
Indeed, gratitude is essential for your overall well-being. Raising a grateful child begins with establishing gratitude habits. Hopefully, this list will provide your family with a good starting point.