Raising children is a big job with lots of responsibility, and fun, of course! Parents strive to raise kids who are happy, respectful, and appreciative for everything they have. Often times, there’s a struggle between making sure our children act less entitled, express more thankfulness and act more grateful for all of they have in their lives. Teaching children about having an attitude of gratitude is a great way to instill thankfulness and to bolster their happiness as they grow through life. According to research by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, people who practice a grateful attitude are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined. Need we say more? Check out these 5 ways parents can encourage and instill, age-appropriate gratitude.
- Count (and name) your blessings. We often get bogged down by the daily grind and this lesson is great for parents and kids. Count your blessings by practicing gratitude in daily conversations with your child. This will help them understand how, and why, they are to be grateful for everything they have. Try incorporating this into your dinnertime conversation. Go around the table and ask each person what they are thankful for and watch your family’s blessing pile up.
- Choose quality time over material things. Spending quality time with your child goes far beyond gifting them the latest toys or video games. Your child will remember the memories you made together over any material items. A few ideas are to go out for a treat, sing songs or holiday carols in the car, or take them to the store for a (short) shopping trip.
- Lend a helping hand to those in need. Encourage your child to take initiative to help an elderly neighbor with their yard work, a younger sibling with homework, or volunteering at a local food bank or animal shelter. Kids who give their time and energy to others often are less likely to take what they have for granted.
- Get the kids involved in household tasks. Kids of all ages can participate in daily, age-appropriate household chores like picking up toys, washing the dishes, setting the table and so much more. Children who assist with household tasks have a higher sense of gratitude for the things they have.
- Keep your manners in check. Teach gratitude by instilling manners like “please” and “thank you” in everyday conversations. Role play with your child and ask them how they would feel if someone didn’t use their manners. This will help children understand why using manners is so important!
Having an attitude of gratitude is something that is not only taught, but modeled as well. Parents and children alike have plenty of opportunities throughout their days to express and feel gratitude. Amplifying moments of gratitude help encourage and motivate children to continue to display positive behavior and truly have an attitude of gratitude!
The Little Gym is grateful for all of its wonderful little patrons and parents and wish you all a fabulous holiday season!