Do you model an Attitude of Gratitude? November, the month of traditions and thankfulness, is the perfect time to start a new daily tradition in your household. We come together to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family and enjoy a great feast. But Thanksgiving is not the only day you should “count your blessings”. The best way to start modeling a grateful spirit is to start sharing what you are thankful for on a daily basis with your children.This will be a journey of learning to be thankful for the smallest things and seeing God all around you as we move through each day. As a parent its critical to instill an attitude of gratitude in our children, and it begins with you modeling the behavior.
Showing gratitude is a healthy habit, it can lead to happiness, satisfaction, increased self-esteem, hope and empathy. Studies show that kids who practice grateful thinking have a more positive attitude towards family and school. To instill gratitude gives kids a different perspective to take into account. Most kids these days feel “entitled” and don’t get the full scope of the privileges, and opportunities most kids in our country enjoy. Not knowing or caring about where it all comes from. Once they recognize this, it will help them better understand and be more inclined to treat others with respect and less inclined to focus on the wants, while being more appreciative on what they already have.
So how can we create an Attitude of Gratitude in our kids?
Gratitude starts at home, with you and here are 5 ways to help you start growing an attitude of gratitude in your own household:
1.Be a Grateful Parent
It’s amazing the change in a child’s self esteem when they are shown appreciation from a parent or sibling. Telling them how grateful you are for their smallest action goes a long way. Boost their moral and thank them for getting homework done on time, or for sharing an item with a sibling or friend.
2. Get the family in the habit of serving others together
Community is a very important role in life. And by getting involved in a community service helps unite people from diverse backgrounds to work towards a common goal. By helping out, you and your kids may find hidden talents and change your view on your self worth which will promote self esteem and personal growth. Plus they learn to be active members in the community and positive contributors to society. By serving others, children will gain a different perspective on how they view the world and give them a sence of purpose. Sit down with your kids and discuss the different ways they can volunteer. Some ideas: help make sandwiches for a homeless shelter, pack backpacks for under-resourced children, or help beautify a local school or business.
3. “Please & Thank You”
“Don’t forget to say Please and Thank you” the most common verbiage used by parents in training our little ones. But true appreciation in kids takes time to blossom. Because they are being told, kids may not truly feel the gratitude that we would expect them to feel. Rather than teaching our kids these behaviors, they may be better learned through observing gratitude, generosity and kindness. There are countless opportunities every day for us to model gratitude for our kids- thanking the cashier at the market or the barrista who added an extra shot of expresso. When kids observe your sincerity, they a more inclined to do the same.
4. Have ’em pitch in when they want something
I do this often with my teen. If your kids have saved birthday money or an allowance, have them pitch in towards those new $100 sneakers. When kids have to use money they have saved up, they tend to learn the value of the dollar very quick.
It also teaches restraint and encourages kids to appreciate what they have, as well as giving them a more realistic perspective on what you and others do for them.
5. Link gratitude to your Higher Power
Most religious traditions emphasize the practice of gratitude through acknowledging blessings and through serving others. Attending regular religious services is one way for kids to gain a sense of gratitude as part of a community. Even those who aren’t part of a formal worship community can offer prayers personally at appropriate times. Spirituality and gratitude go hand in hand. How blessed are we to have running water, food on the table, our health, air-conditioning, clothes and shoes or even a toy. How powerful, just saying that we have even one of these is a blessing in itself. How diferent life would be if we all adopted this kind of attitude. Grab a journal or notebook and have everyone write what they are thankful for, it can be done daily, weekly or monthly however often you choose. And than go back and read past entries together as a reminder of their blessings
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward