“Say, thank you!”
How many of us parents find ourselves prodding our children this way any time they receive something or is being served or being complimented by anyone? After all, we are taught that “please” and “thank you” are magic words.
But beyond good manners, how do we teach kids to be thankful every day? More importantly, how do we encourage them to express gratitude for things they hardly notice or always take for granted?
In her book Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach introduces the idea of keeping a gratitude journal. Each day, one writes at least 5 things that they are grateful for on that particular day. It is like a diary of good things. Most people who took up the practice write their daily list of 5 at the end of the day; much like they would a diary. Others write throughout the day just in case a thank-worthy moment catches them.
Those who have tried it would tell you that at first, it is not as easy as it sounds. Why so? It certainly isn’t because there are no good things happening around. It is mostly because they are bent on the big stuff – trophies, big events or major material strides.
So how should one go about it? Pay attention to the little things. Mind the details.
This is why this practice is so adaptable to children. They see, hear, touch, taste and feel everything. And they do tend to sweat the small stuff, so why not turn their mind around and practice finding treats out of simple things.
Here are a few things you might find your child being thankful for….
Here are more things you could guide them into seeing with grateful eyes….
And so on…
Studies show that a habitually thankful child is 25% happier, more patient, tolerant, hopeful and appreciative of things and especially of people. They will learn the value of hard work and the meaning of kindness. Kids who practice grateful thinking have a more positive attitude towards family and school. They are more likely to give back.
Truth is, there is always something to be thankful for if we open our eyes wide and our hearts even wider!