The importance of an attitude of gratitude of often discussed. Michele Borba, oneof my favorite parenting experts, says, "Compelling research now proves that the happiest children are the ones who feel a sense of appreciation for life—and that’s regardless of their wealth or personal circumstances. Those studies show that because kids feel grateful they are actually more joyful, determined, optimistic, resilient, less stressed and even healthier."
Today's a great day to talk about gratitude with your kids, and here are some ways to do it:
1. Have kids write a list of what they are grateful for. They may list silly things at first, and that's okay. It starts somewhere. Give them time and space and they will likely go a bit deeper. Don't judge. If there's something on the list you don't understand, ask them why they are grateful for it. The answer may surprise you.
2. Make your own list. Modeling gratitude is a great way to pass it on.
3. Post the lists somewhere that your kids see it regularly, even if it's on the inside of a closet door. Tween mood swings mean a kid can plunge into the depths of despair quickly, and a reminder of all the good in their world can be important. The list can also remind them to feel grateful. Let your child know that adding to it is always an option. Maybe even have them add one item daily between now and Thanksgiving. Make it a season, not a day.
4. Have your child write a note expressing their appreciation for someone on their list. It can be a relative, teacher, performer or worker at the ice cream store. Not only does it teach them that it is important to express gratitude, it's great writing practice! The book 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik is a quick read about a man who wrote such a letter every day and the significant impact that they had on both author of the notes and his myriad of recipients.
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