As we rake the leaves, sweep up the candy wrappers, and prepare to dive deeply into the festivities and traditions that warmly comfort the season of Thanksgiving, we can all find solace in the power of gratitude. Gratitude creates a force of connection between people and all things, for when we are grateful we are at peace with nature, others and ourselves.
As we explore this opportunity to foster creative activities and learning experiences for our children, we can also embrace the tools of gratitude to extend beyond this season and into our everyday lives. In fact, it is widely researched with profound findings that children who exhibit true attributes of gratitude are more connected with their family, friends, community, and are most likely to reach out to those in need. Grateful children also prove to be very successful in their career ambitions and consistently report high standards of happiness in their lives.
While we all want our children to be grateful, it takes more than just teaching them common manners. Here are some fun ideas and activities that may help you to foster an atmosphere of lifelong gratitude in your home.
Try these steps to instill a mind-set of gratitude in your little ones.
- Say “Thank you.” When the words “thank you” are instilled in our vocabulary at home, a lifelong practice begins, even if it doesn’t stick at first..
- Live it. Set an example and show appreciation by conveying you paid attention to real effort: “Your room looks so nice with the toys in their bins. I’m so happy that you remembered to put them away!”
- Teach through role play. If your little one is too shy to say “thank you” in a social setting, they can pretend to teach their stuffed animals or dolls to do so, while you play along.
- Create daily or weekly routines. A regular question, “What are you most thankful for today?” can serve as a comforting routine at bedtime or a highlight of a weekly dinner ritual.
- Give concrete examples. At dinner, you can play the Rose and Thorn game, where the person whose turn it is to speak holds a rose and tells about one rose (a good thing) and one thorn (a challenging thing). A metaphor like the rose helps children develop gratitude even when things aren’t going their way.
- Make giving and volunteering a habit. Set aside toys and clothing in good condition. Deliver the items to a deserving cause together. Talk about the process and why you care.
- Create gratitude gift lists. Alongside a holiday or birthday gift wish list, for every item, family members can list something they are grateful for. These are the “priceless” gifts. By generating the list in a beautiful way, you demonstrate how valuable the alternate list is; it can be a keepsake for years to come.
- Thank those who serve. Your example of acknowledging those who quietly make a difference in your life, from the bus driver to the person sweeping up the aftermath of a family lunch out, sends a powerful message to your children.
- Be patient. Kids can’t be cajoled into showing appreciation, but your gentle efforts and examples will instill gratitude as a way of life.
- Make dinner a family event where everyone is encouraged to share their daily experiences. Point out examples of gratitude and ask them how the experience made them feel.
- 10 Ways to Raise a Grateful Kid. By Homa Tavangar
Throughout the month of November, we’ll be sharing Instagram and Facebooks posts related to gratitude. I hope you join the team at Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny as we celebrate an “attitude of gratitude”.
Happy Thanksgiving from the team at Boston Baby Nurse and Nanny.