We often accuse our children (and partners) of taking things, or us, for granted. A positive way to look at this is to recognize that the children and partners feel comfortable and secure in us being there. The negative to this can sometimes lead to wishing they were a bit more grateful for us, and for everything else, in their lives. The question is, How DO you teach, or inspire, the power of gratitude in your children. Well, here’s some ideas:
1. Set the Right Example.
Hopefully, we all have learned that the “Do what I say, not what I do.” method of parenting doesn’t work very well for teaching most things to our children. That being said, it’s critical, just as with teaching them about money, that you set the best example possible for your children. Remember that they learn three ways; by what they see you do, what they hear you say and by the experiences you expose them to. Let them watch YOU be grateful, hear YOU speak words of gratitude on a regular basis and put them in situations where they can experience being grateful for things.
2. Great a Gratitude Journal.
Buy yourself and each one of your children a special journal, or make them with paper and notebooks they can decorate themselves, and make it your Gratitude Journal. Each day create a family morning ritual of writing down at least one thing each of you is grateful for that day. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with after awhile. One day you may find that you’re eating something salty and feel grateful for your taste buds!
3. Focus on what you HAVE instead of on what you DON’T have.
In this day and age of want, want, want, toy, toy, toy, it’s often hard for kids to realize just how well they have it. Heck, the way many adults talk, they don’t even realize it themselves.
Even if you’re in a family that doesn’t make a lot of money, you can find so many ways you have it so much better than the majority of human beings on earth. And if you don’t think so, try doing a simple search on Google. Look up “human suffering” and see what comes up. Sometimes seeing how badly others have it makes kids, and adults, realize how well off they are.
4. Do the Gratitude Dance (cute little YouTube video I found for you)
Believe it not, sometimes just taking a few minutes to move your body to music or a little stretching will move you from a place of negativity to a positive place of gratitude and happiness. Try it, it certainly can’t hurt! I’m dancing to music right now as I’m writing this for you and it feels so good!
So, what are YOU grateful for at this minute? Just something to think about.