Seeds of Gratitude
Living lessons in Happiness and Joy
Five tips for parents who want to plant seeds of gratitude in their children
Ask most parents what they want their children to be aware of, and they will say, “ I wish my child knew how lucky they are!” “Why can’t they be grateful?”
Well, as a classroom teacher for 25 years and as a parent of two teenage boys, I know this can be challenging. The answer is we must teach them. Being grateful is not always innate.
We must create a gratitude practice.
- Be a model for gratitude. Show your gratitude to others and to your children for the things that they do.
- Start your morning with voicing your gratitude for the simple things like. I love seeing the sunshine. I am so grateful for where we live. Wow! Annie said ‘hello’ this morning and it brightened my day. I am so grateful to see her. (This simple practice gives children the vocabulary for gratitude)
- Have a gratitude journal in the house that everyone can write in. If your children are not old enough to write, have someone scribe for them. Each day, or whenever you think of it, write down something you are grateful for and watch the journal grow into a family treasure to be looked back on and cherished throughout the years. (If your family is techie, try this new app I am using: Gratitude Rock (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/gratitude-rock-journal-diary/id320108879?mt=8.) Surprise each other.
- Hold hands at the dinner table and have each person say a gratitude aloud for something in their day. Children need to see their parents practicing and sharing too.
- Practice unseen gratitude as your child tucks into bed. You can relax each part of their body and give gratitude. I grateful for my legs walking me to school. I am grateful for my arms lifting heavy parcels. I am grateful for my brain understanding a difficult math equation. What are you grateful for?
These practices not only plant seeds of gratitude in our children, but also in ourselves. They slow us down and allow us to see the small things: The non-material things.