life is a GIFT
Life is truly an amazing gift. There aren’t many times this realization hits us more and we become mindful of the wonder and value of it, then the moment we become a parent. Seeing and holding our children for the first time, although at times daunting, can even feel magical. Like we are receiving the most valuable gift of our entire lives.
However, let’s face it. On the day to day, there are parts of life that aren’t quite as magical. As enjoyable as it can be to sit together eating a family dinner, being asked to clear the table when everyone else is already watching TV? Not so much. What if that family dinner includes your child’s arch nemesis, the deadly lima bean, and they are expected to eat it? The drama is real.
These moments can be a real drag for kids and adults alike, but there is also a positive message that can be learned from them. According to a Business Insider article, helping your kids to enjoy every moment in life can make a big difference in whether or not they will suffer from depression, have good relationships, and how happy they will be as grown-ups.
As shared in our previous blog post, GRATITUDE is the key, being thankful has huge benefits. By learning to be grateful for even the ordinary moments, you can restructure your brain to be happier, and according to one study, this can be instilled by doing the following activities:
Scientists found that keeping a journal of all the things you are thankful for was the most effective way to improve mood and make kids happier. If your child does not yet know how to write, you can help them by doing the writing for them, and having them draw the pictures. The point is more to think of things they are happy about and help them keep track of those things.
If someone gives you a gift, saying thank you is more than a nice way of making the person who gave it to you happy. It’s also good for you too. Being able to describe how you feel in a thankful way is great for helping children learn how to manage their emotions, and also help them remember to be thankful in the first place.
What’s better than a birthday party? Visiting a friend who gave you a gift! You can make being grateful even more fun by having play dates with the kids who gave your kid a present.
These ideas are all great for special moments, but you can help remind your child to be grateful for everything. If your child isn’t grateful to eat that lima bean, taking them to volunteer at a homeless shelter may be the perfect opportunity to help them understand that there are other children who would love the opportunity for a hot meal inside a warm and cozy home.
make it into a mission
Does your child feel like Cinderella when asked to do a simple chore? Turning it into an exciting mission can make the work more fun—and teach them life skills they will need to survive as adults too. Children who cut their own vegetables will often eat them, so letting them cut vegetables with a kids safe nylon knife may make them more inclined to try that suspicious looking broccoli as well.
Another way to instill this message is to read stories that teach our children the value of life and to be grateful for it. Otis Gives Thanks by Loren Long teaches children the importance of taking the time to appreciate our lives and the love of those around us, An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton is a whimsical book that wonderfully reminds kids of all ages to be thankful of the beauty of life, Look and Be Grateful by Tomie dePaola shares the perspective of a young boy who is mindful of little everyday things and feels grateful for all of the gifts he comes across in his day.
We also recommend Big Life Journal! They have wonderful printables that include exercises and posters that reinforce the importance of gratitude. With this program, you are also set up for success through tools that help your children to have a growth mindset, resiliency, encourage confidence and instill the love of learning.
Your children will be happier with a dose of gratitude, and so will you. Life is very precious. Enjoy it!
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.