Are your children grateful for the people, the possessions and the experiences in their lives? Well, research shows that it can be of benefit for your children to develop an “attitude of gratitude”. Being grateful helps children become aware of and appreciate the good things in their lives and not take them for granted. This allows children to know what is important in their life and what makes them happy, which helps them identify and achieve life goals for a full and inspired life !
Studies also show both mental and physical benefits for people who are actively grateful on a daily basis. For example:
- grateful people are healthier as they take better care of themselves in relation to diet and exercise
- gratitude helps people cope better with daily issues especially managing stress
- gratitude helps people be more optimistic which boosts the immune system.
So, what can parents do to help their children practice gratitude?
Here are some activities that you could invite your children to complete to help them achieve the many benefits of being grateful and learn skills for life.
- Journaling. You may like to give your child a special note book or journal to record all of the aspects of their life they are grateful for. Assure them that it’s fine to write the same things every day and really appreciate those things again and again! The journal entries can be in words or pictures. Encourage your child to write and or draw on a regular basis.
- Bed time thank you’s. Every night invite your child to share with you what they are grateful for and then you can share what you are grateful for with your child. It is a lovely way to go to sleep! It could go something along the lines of “thank you for my parents, for my baby sister, for my bear, for the park I play in etc”…
If your child runs out of ideas, you can share some of the things you are grateful for that are relevant to your child for example “I am grateful for a family to care for and who care about me, I am grateful for all the lovely food we have, I am grateful for our home, my books and my friends.
Encouraging an attitude of gratitude will help your children focus on the good aspects of their lives and children who do this regularly are generally happier, healthier and lead more fulfilling lives.