"G is for I am Grateful. Say a big thank you at the end of the day for the good things that have happened in your world today."- SunChild.
We all want to raise kids with gratitude who understand when we say thank you and appreciate what they have been given. But with the holidays approaching and living in a world full of consumption, it can be a very daunting thought to many parents. We have all been there when your kids don't want to say thank you, even if they love the new toy or treat they have just been given. And you are left feeling, am I raising an ungrateful child?
Although society may tell us "the next thing" or "more", makes us happy. We know that is not true happiness. And teaching gratitude to our children is one of the foundations of raising a happy child. Backed by so many scientific studies, the fact now is true happiness comes from gratitude for what we have and caring for others.
Genuine gratitude is the act of consciously giving thank you for what we have received and have. It's more than just a "thanks"; nurturing gratitude for our children is cultivating a mindset that chooses positivity over negativity.
The key to teaching gratitude is incorporating simple activities and being mindful of our words around children. This naturally develops a level of gratefulness in our children as a foundation for lasting happiness in the world.
Here are SunChild's Top 5 Tips for fostering gratitude for your kids:
- Role model Gratitude.
Our kids learn so much from just watching us. The saying' monkey sees monkey does' defiantly applies to teaching gratitude. So want to raise kids who say thanks, we must also do the same! Show them what it means to be genuinely grateful to the morning barrister or lady who holds the door for you. Also, give thanks to your children when they help with chores. Say, "Thank you so much for helping me wash up; that made tidying up after dinner much easier". Reinforce the behaviour and let them know it was appreciated.
- Gratitude in the mundane, making it a part of everyday life.
I love to incorporate gratitude in the simple pleasures of daily life, teaching children to appreciate the minor things we so often take for granted.
- Bath Time Gratitude Ritual
At bath time, we often do one ritual when washing the body parts; we thank them for what they have helped us do. Thank you, legs, for helping me run; thank you, heart, for helping me love; thank you, ears, for helping me hear, etc. Not only does it clean all body parts and teach gratitude, but it also builds self-love and connection to our bodies.
- Dinner time Gratitude Ritual
At Dinnertime, we often say thank you to our food for nourishing our bodies. Usually, we list all who have helped this dinner become our food. Giving thanks to the farmers, the earth for growing, Mummy or Daddy for cooking and lastly, our thank you to our bodies for digesting.
- Morning & Bedtime Gratitude Ritual
- Read our SunChild I am Grateful Card & Have a talk.
Often when children have trouble understanding emotions, it can help by talking about how it makes other people feel when we show them appreciation. Ask how it makes you feel when someone says thank you to you for doing a kind act, and then how it makes you feel when a friend doesn't say thank you. Talking about feelings and allowing the child to observe their feelings can help better understand gratitude's emotional benefits. SunChild affirmations are such a great conversation starter for parents as a tool to have these discussions. The cards give parents and children the words to have open conversations about gratitude and how it makes them feel.
- Put things into perspectives
We must talk to our children about those who are less fortunate; we can't bubble-wrap our children and pretend that bad things don't happen in the world. We want to raise empathic, caring and grateful kids for what they have. Then we have to make them understand that not everyone has the same privileges in this life. A beautiful activity you can do is donate unwanted toys, books and clothes to children in need who may go without this Christmas. Make a family bake sale for a charity of the child's choice or volunteer together. Giving and gratitude go hand in hand; doing it as a family will bring you together and create some great memories.
- Gratitude Activities
- We created a FREE SunChild Gratitude Christmas Tree to inspire gratefulness this holiday season! Let your children colour in our Christmas tree and write in the hearts 5 things they are most grateful for this year. It's a simple and beautiful concept that we have even added a little affirmation on the printout for them.
- Another beautiful gratitude activity is the gratitude jar. Where you take a jar, get kiddies to decorate and then each week or day, they have to write something they are grateful for.
- You could also colour in our I am Grateful affirmation in our SunChild colouring book and create an I am grateful poster. They then can put their new colouring on their bedroom walls as a reminder to be grateful daily, making gratitude their own.
We must be mindful that every child is unique and may have their own way of expressing gratitude. Every child is different and has their own distinct form of communication. Some may feel more comfortable with a hug than a verbal thank you or drawing a picture as a thank you gift. We have to tune into our child's language. We will let them know that even as they learn new ways to give back, we see and appreciate the thoughtful person they already are.
Keep Your Light Shining,
Click to download our free SunChild Gratitude Christmas Tree activity.