Gratitude is an elixir. It helps us to appreciate what is already good in our life (instead of overlooking it) and help us to get through not-so-great times. It is also linked to so many health and wellbeing benefits.
Practicing gratitude – and it is something you need to do and practice – is great for adults, but it’s also great for kids. It’s something we can teach our kids every day.
It’s not about forcing them with saying things like ‘you should be grateful!’ It’s about guiding them to make the practice of gratitude a normal way they live their life.
Here are some ideas for teaching our kids gratitude:
1. Make a list of the good things
At bedtime or some other quiet time during the day, you can ask your child, ‘What’s something good that happened today?’ Have a chat about it. Recognize it. Appreciate it.
2. Teach thankfulness
As part of family life, we can reinforce the importance of thanking those who help us. Remind your kids to say thanks and congratulate them when they do.
3. Encourage helping out
Kids can help out around the house. Because that’s what we do in our family: we help each other. We do things for each other to make this a nice place to live.
4. Notice the little things
Little kids are really good at noticing the little things: the lady bug on a leaf, the dog wagging it’s tail, and the smell of spring. We can notice the little things too and share them with our kids.
5. Give love more than gifts
Kids need our love more than anything. Not endless rooms of stuff. Give them more love and less stuff.
6. Be a good role model
Our kids are watching and learning from us. If we practice gratitude, our kids will learn how to practice gratitude too.
7. Talk about the positive after anger flares
During those tough times. After those meltdowns. Once some sort of calm has returned. Talk about the positives. Find the good. Not in a superficial or ‘let’s-ignore-that-horrible-feeling’ way. But in a gentle and genuine way. As a tonic.
About The Author
Jodie Benveniste is a psychologist, parenting author, TEDx speaker, and author of four parenting books, including Intuitive Parenting: Unlocking the secrets to raising incredible kids.
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