GETTING YOUR KID TO BE GRATEFUL
Studies show that grateful kids are happier, less stressed and have a more optimistic outlook on life. Here’s how to instill this practice in your kids.
It’s possible for young kids to be taught to understand gratitude. Researchers have found that by age five, most kids have developed a preliminary grasp of it. While practising gratitude is a process that takes time, it’s worth instilling when kids are young. “When a child is able to appreciate the positives in their life, it can improve their mental and physical health, resiliency and academic outcomes, and can even help them create stronger social connections.
Teaching gratitude might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are four simple ways to integrate this practice into your life.
Practise what you preach
The first step in teaching gratitude is modelling the behaviours yourself. To do this, designate a specific time each day like at dinner or on the drive home from school to discuss things you’re grateful for. For example, say something like, “It’s such a sunny day today. I’m so grateful for that,” and then ask your kid what they’re grateful for.
Sharing is the simplest gratitude-building activity and yet one of the most effective. Some children have a harder time letting go of toys they’ve formed a connection with, so it’s important to empathize with your child and compromise have them choose just one or two toys to give away, which will make them feel like they have control of the situation.
Give them a chore and then thank them for the work
Giving your kids age-appropriate chores can foster gratitude in two ways. First, they flex their empathy muscle by understanding that these chores, which caregivers regularly do for them, often take a lot of work. This ability to empathize with someone’s effort puts them in a better position to experience genuine feelings of gratitude.