Teach Your Child to Be Grateful
Works Like Magic?
What if there was a way to get our kids to be more energetic, attentive, enthusiastic, helpful, interested, determined, optimistic and joyful? Well, recent psychological research shows that all these things are amplified by being grateful.
Furthermore, research suggests that our ‘sense of coherence’, which is the sense that things are manageable, and the idea that life has meaning and purpose, are also strongly linked to gratitude.
Here’s one more reason to practice gratitude – gratitude is one of the character traits associated with life satisfaction. Research has also shown that people who are more grateful, are less depressed, anxious, materialistic and envious, when comparing them to those who do not practice gratitude.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best part about gratitude is that it can indeed be practiced.
It might be a good idea for us, as parents, to try and turn the practice of gratitude into a family ritual
Daily gratitude routines can strengthen your grateful world view. If you start looking for things to be grateful about in life, the world will begin to seemingly ‘present’ things for you to be grateful about. These gratitude routines can change your perspective on life and your outlook on the world. This psychological effect that can do wonders for your family interactions as well.
There have been multiple psychological studies in which participants kept a ‘gratitude journal’ in which they detailed the various things they were thankful for on a regular basis for an ongoing period of time.
Upon comparing the journal keepers against those who did not keep track of their reasons for gratitude, researchers found that the grateful participants had higher life satisfaction and were more optimistic about things to come.
Gratitude as a family ritual
This is why it might be a good idea for us, as parents, to try and turn the practice of gratitude into a family ritual. This can really help our kids view the world as a good place and instill confidence and optimism in them, and in us as parents as well…
What more, rituals which are practiced at home over the course of a childhood can become an ingrained part of a child’s personality!
Many thought leaders claim that gratitude is what made the biggest change in their lives
Bridget Grenville-Cleave writes in her book on positive psychology, that there are a few possible activities which can help us become more grateful.
Try one of the following:
- Keeping a gratitude journal – she suggests writing about something good that happened once a week. Anything goes, whether it’s the car not breaking down, or that you made on to the swimming team. There are no wrong answers.
- Writing thank you letters – this one may seem a bit formal, but it’s a lot of fun to receive a thank you note, and it’s a wonderful exercise to write one, since you will have to focus on something good another person did for you. You can also write letters without sending them. It will probably have a similar effect.
- 3 Good things – We actually practice this one at home on the weekends. We go around the table (usually by age) and each one has to say two or three good things that happened over the course of the past week. You’d be surprised how hard it can be to find the third one (or even the second one if it was a nasty week). However this practice can really change your outlook on things over time.
If you want to start writing a gratitude journal with your kids, check out our DIY gratitude journal activity.
Many thought leaders claim that gratitude is what made the biggest change in their lives. Here’s what Oprah has to say on the matter –
Let us know in the comments if you have a cool gratitude practice that works for you!
Good luck and have fun!