It’s amazing how much happier a home is when it is filled with gratefulness. And whether it’s called gratefulness of thankfulness, its presence in the home and in our individual hearts is a choice – even during lockdown!
The reality is that despite our challenging circumstances, we have so much to be grateful for.
When we woke up this morning, our skin was still attached to our bodies! How awesome is that? It would have been quite messy to clean up if it had fallen off! We can be thankful for so many different things in each new day.
As parents, we can foster an attitude of gratitude in our children. There is a plethora of research that documents the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual benefits of gratitude. Those who practice gratitude are healthier, happier, and more successful.
So how can we teach our children to be grateful? Here’s 5 easy steps:
1. Model it
As you habitually express your gratitude, your little ones will copy. Ask questions that help your child discover the potential silver lining in a tough situation: “what’s something good that could come from something hard like this?” Saying thank you and talking about gratitude also go a long way.
2. Encourage the writing of thank you cards
You can encourage kids to express their gratitude to those who have sent gifts, cards or extended acts of kindness. During lockdowns, we know that UberEats and the Post Office have been busier than usual: snail mail has made a come back! Take the opportunity to make and decorate thank you cards and letters.
3. One thing you are grateful for
Establish the habit around the dinner table of sharing one thing each person is grateful for that day. You can also create a gratitude jar that everyone contributes to. Keep a jar in an easily accessible place, like the kitchen, and keep some slips of paper handy. Encourage everyone to write down something they’re grateful for and put it in the jar.
4. A gratitude tree or balloon
Draw a tree, balloons or other image on a noticeboard and have each child add a leaf with their thankfulness item. Read them each Sunday afternoon over a milkshake and a donut.
5. Point kids to the giver of each perfect gift
Our God is kind and good! Teach your kids to give thanks to God and to learn to recognise His hand in their lives. A great idea is to get out a piece of paper and number the blessings one by one, and as specifically as possible.
Parenting from a place of gratefulness during times of pressure is not easy, but the rewards are worthwhile: a close-knit family with kids who grow up to be thankful and grace-filled.