As grandparents, we can only hope that by example we have instilled compassionate values onto our children (no matter how old) and grandchildren as well. With the holidays now upon us, we believe it’s even a better time to take a moment and make sure that we certainly lead by example.
“If your child learns to practice gratitude, they will reap the many benefits gratitude has been proven to provide, including empathy toward others, better physical health, and a stronger ability to overcome obstacles and face adversities,” says Kerry Maunus, co-founder of “Turkey on the Table,” a Thanksgiving book and activity kit aimed at promoting gratitude.*
Indeed, practicing gratitude has been linked to happiness, confidence, compassion, and more. But how exactly can loving adults instill a sense of gratitude in their children? Here are 6 tips we’d like to share:
1. Express Your Gratitude for Them
Perhaps the most important way to raise grateful children is to model gratitude yourself. It is particularly helpful to let your kids know how much you appreciate them.
2. Let Them See You Show Gratitude for Others
All adults can also model gratitude for children by expressing it in other ways throughout their everyday lives. Beyond thanking other people, parents can show appreciation for simple things by pausing and demonstrating it in the moment.
3. Talk About What Gratitude Really Means
With young children, a lot of times they learn gratitude as a sort of politeness behavior ― mindlessly saying ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ as part of a script. Cultivate gratitude with your grandchildren, and talk in detail about why you appreciate people and value certain things. Andrea Hussong, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says, “We believe gratitude is an experience with four parts: what kids notice in their lives that they’re grateful to have, what they think about why they’ve received those things, how they feel about them, and what they do to show gratitude. “Most parents just focus on what kids do, but that think-and-feel part helps kids make meaning of gratitude, take it in, and pass it on.”
4. Focus on Looking for Silver Linings
Gratitude is about paying attention to the good things we have in life and being able to keep doing that when you’re in a bad mood or something bad happens, which makes focusing on the good things more challenging.
5. Establish Gratitude Routines
Consider making rituals based around gratitude a regular part of everyday life. Perhaps at bedtime or dinner time, talk about what has gone on during the day, and what everyone is grateful for. Focus on the positivity.
6. Volunteer as A Family
While most of us intend to give back to others in some way, often our own routines and schedules and life get in the way. However, that being said, we need to take a step back and actually make a gesture of service to others a priority in the motion of life. Brainstorm with the family and kids about how and where you’ll offer your time and talents. Not only will the people we serve benefit, but our kids will put their own blessings in perspective.
One of our favorite celebrity’s, Pink, once said onstage: “Kindness today is an act of rebellion.”
That kinds of sums it up, yes? Let’s work on spreading gratitude and kindness today, and every day!
*Portions of article reprinted from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-raise-grateful-kids_l_5dd835a4e4b0d50f328f7031