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Giving the Gift of Gratitude
Raising Grateful Kids
As parents, we do our best to raise good, kind, and resilient kids. This year it is especially important to emphasize the good that we have in our lives with our children. We have all been under stress and anxiety as we, as adults, have worked through this tumultuous year. Whether they talk about it or not kids pick up on the emotions of those around them. As we enter the season of giving thanks it is a natural segue to introduce this concept in an organic way.
Start a gratitude journal. This is something I recently started with my kids. As I am putting them to bed, we pull out the journal and I ask them to tell me three things they are grateful for, and then I write them down in a numbered list. Then I write down three things I am grateful for. Since I do this with both kids, sometimes my answers are the same in each book and sometimes different but it gives us a chance to refocus on the positive at the end of the day.
The kids’ responses have surprised and humbled me a number of times. One night my son said he was grateful for the roof over his head, and my daughter almost made me cry when she said, I have a mommy who gives me hugs and kisses. There are other nights where they are not too into it and I get…Mommy, daddy, comfy bed, but still there is something comforting about bringing the day to a close by reminding ourselves that there are always things and moments to be grateful for even…. if it is just a warm blanky.
I gave each of my children a different version of a Journal. For my daughter the journal is a fuzzy bear holding a rainbow. (Paid Link) She especially enjoys grabbing it for me off the bed stand. For my son I went Pokemon Journal.(Paid Link) You can also let your child choose their own journal. Especially if you have a child that is not as excited about this type of parent led activity it can help if they have some ownership.
Turkey on the Table (Paid Link)
Thanksgiving is coming, start your Turkey on the Table. This is a new addition to our Thanksgiving table. The whole family, and our invited guests add words of gratitude and thanks to our Turkey, on his feathers and we read them aloud during dessert. Tip: Hold a few feathers in reserve for those guests who are not always around to write a few during dinner and feel included.
Build Gratitude through Giving Back
Find local food and clothing drives, get involved and expose your kids to the concept of giving. It’s a great time to go through the closet and pull out coats the kids have grown out of and non-perishable food items that will fill hungry tummies. Explaining where these items are going and having the kids participate in collecting and delivering them can instill a sense of gratitude for how much we sometimes take for granted.
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Write letters to those you can’t be with this year. We have all been keeping our mandated 6 feet apart, but the mail can still get through. Check out these great correspondence kits (Paid Link) that will get your kids writing letters and sending their love and gratitude via snail mail.
Whether they are in person or on-line, teachers deserve our gratitude all year long. Get your child or your child’s class involved in letting their teachers know how much they care. They can make a collage, donate to a charity the teacher supports, even write a song to show how much it means that our teachers are still showing up for them each and every day.
No matter how you bring gratitude into your child’s life it will be a positive thing. For them as well as for you. Our children are amazing and their minds are so malleable and nimble. Showing that you care and recognize the good in life shows them they can too.
I close with a thank you, thank you for reading, thank you for supporting, thank you for all the things you did today that no one thanked you for, but you deserve a thank you for. 🙂
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