GRATITUDE is the key

Practicing gratitude regularly can be life-altering. There is so much power behind being grateful. It may not be apparent immediately, but taking the time to practice being thankful for the things you already have in your life can bring about more to be grateful for, and can have many positive effects over time. Your thoughts, mood, and behavior can all be transformed after practicing gratitude regularly. As parents, this is something very important to teach and encourage in our children.

Fostering gratitude makes for happier children—and happier friends and family too. Being grateful is a skill that needs to be developed, and your kids can do it with a little help.

more than just “thank you”
Along with “Please”, “Hello” and “Goodbye”, “Thank you” is usually one of the first phrases children are taught. Although, teaching a child to say the words can be conditioned, instilling the actual feeling of gratitude and the comprehension of what it truly means can be challenging at times. 

Because children are born reliant on their parents, it is almost inevitable that they have expectations of things done for them. It is up to parents to make sure they teach their children about gratitude early on to avoid a sense of entitlement in the future. Here are some ways to instill the importance and magic of gratitude in your children:

Be a role model of gratitude and discuss what you’re thankful for. Children watch what you do and hear the things you say. By showing appreciation to others and by merely voicing your gratitude for your blessings in their presence, your children begin to recognize social interactions and things they may otherwise have taken for granted.

Let them do things for themselves. Although, it may be quicker and easier for you to do things like pick up after your children, by letting them do for themselves you not only teach them to be independent, but you show them that they should appreciate the efforts that go into doing daily tasks.

Teach them to do for others. There is a positive feeling that comes with helping others and it is further amplified when people show you gratitude for what you have done for them. This is a wonderful way of also teaching children empathy and compassion for others. Children should learn that generosity is the key to blessings as well, because what you give out, returns to you in some form of blessing or another.

Have them earn things. Instead of giving in every time they ask for something, have your child do a chore or a task to earn what they want. They will be more likely to take care of the purchase and recognize the value and effort that goes into receiving what they desire. This, in turn, will also help them acknowledge and be more grateful for the gifts that are given to them out of consideration and generosity.

proven benefits of practicing gratitude
There are some wonderful benefits anyone can experience by practicing gratitude the following comes from a great article by Psychology Today:

Gratitude can increase your happiness and reduce depression. Robert Emmon’s, a leading gratitude researcher, “confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression”.

Want to increase empathy and lower aggression? Then practice gratitude. According to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Kentucky, grateful people aren’t just kinder, but also less aggressive.

Get better sleep. By jotting down what you’re grateful for in a journal every night, you can benefit from better and longer sleep according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.

Improve self-esteem by practicing gratitude. Some studies have shown that practicing gratitude can reduce social comparisons. By practicing gratitude, people tend to be less resentful of what other people have, and applaud their accomplishments instead of being envious.

books about gratitude
Books are also a wonderful way to teach children the concept and importance of gratitude. Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks by John Buccino is a beautiful picture book with an accompanying CD recorded by Art Garfunkel that share the many things one can be grateful for. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli is a charming book that combines rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. The Thankful Book by Todd Parr is a colorful book that celebrates all the things children can be grateful for.


coloring fun
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.


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