Teaching our kids to be grateful
“Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy” – Psychology Today.
Last year, we started a ritual around our dinner table, a practice that is oh-so-feel-good, elevating the energy in our household in an instant. But more than this, a practice that has taught our children to appreciate all of the wonderful aspects of their little lives.
When we sit down, and before we eat, we go around the table doing our ‘gratitudes’. You can think of it as a new-age way of saying grace.
We give our thanks. We feel all of the feels. We eat.
And dare I say the food tastes better after a good ol’ session of gratitude sharing!?
Here’s how we explain it to our kids:
‘Think of something that makes you happy. Maybe it’s a person. Maybe it’s a toy or a game. Maybe it’s the sunshine that helps wake you up in the morning, or the fresh air that you breathe. When you feel thankful for these things, this is being grateful.’
The key here, in the beginning, is simply asking them, what is it that makes you happy? And then say some examples of things that make YOU happy. Before you know it, they get the idea and their gratitudes & the stories that go along with them will light up your heart.
So, go for it. Start today! Ask your kids – ‘What are you grateful for (what makes you happy!?)’ And bask in their adorable, sometimes hilarious, and downright authentic responses.