We all want the best for our kids. By teaching our children to be grateful for what they have, we are giving them a gift that will last throughout their lives. Grateful people have been found to be more productive, optimistic, positive, and happy. They are able to develop good relationships, effectively handle stress, and feel an overall sense of well-being. Now, isn't that what every parent wants for their child?
Here are some basic ways for naturally incorporating gratitude into the fabric of your life and family:
- First, grow your own sense of gratitude in order to: appreciate life, experience joy, more easily notice the positives, and to set an example for your children. The most powerful teacher is one who can be a role model. Develop a gratitude practice by keeping a gratitude journal, writing grateful letters, taking "I'm thankful for" photos, or by using any method that works for you and helps to grow your gratitude.
- Incorporate fun gratitude games and activities into your home and family as a natural way for imparting the gratitude experience.
- Include the concept of gratitude in family dinners and discussions. Interject gratitude stories into your family time by sharing personal anecdotes or stories you find in the news or on the internet. Ask your kids questions about people and things they appreciate having in their lives, activities they enjoy, and holidays they are looking forward to and why.
- As a family you can create visual reminders in your home to be grateful for what you have. Create a poster, painting, or a sign to hang. Whatever you decide to create, get input from each member of the family.
- Freely and openly share your appreciations. Let your kids see and hear you expressing your thankfulness at home and when you are out-and-about.
- Consider opportunities for family giving. Find ways to donate your time and energy as a family. Giving to those in need helps reinforce the feeling of having enough and appreciating all that you have. In the meantime, you will be sharing a memorable experience.
- Remember to take care of you and your needs. Find things to appreciate about you and make time for the things you love.
- And... Make gratitude a habit for you and your family.