Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude
What are you thankful for? Studies show that being grateful for what you have helps reduce stress, boosts self-esteem and a sense of satisfaction with life; it even helps improve health and well-being. Teaching your child to nurture an “attitude of gratitude” from the start can help with the holiday “gimmes”—and begin to build values that last a lifetime.
- Make Being Thankful a Habit: Thanksgiving is just the start to developing an attitude of gratitude throughout the year. Establish “Appreciation of the Day,” when each family member identifies at least one thing they appreciate, such as a beautiful sunset, a fun game and good times with friends.
- The Buying Game: Help children understand the importance of non-material things in life. Ask questions—some silly, some serious—about what you can buy and what you can’t (Can you buy a car? Yes. Can you buy a nice family? No!).
- What’s Enough?: To counteract media messages that kids may receive about needing more (the latest toys or new junk food) discuss the idea of “enough.” Modeling a sense of satisfaction and positivity about what you already have can help children feel secure and build their self-esteem.
- Manners Matter. Saying “thank you” is an important social skill that enhances a child’s ability to make friends, communicate with adults and succeed in school. According to a recent study in the School Psychology Review, seeing adults modeling grateful behavior is the most effective way for kids to develop an attitude of gratitude themselves. So remember to say “thank you!”