The Thanksgiving Holiday is upon us, and among the frantic preparations for traveling, and/or cooking the holiday meal, let’s not lose sight that at the core of this special day is thankfulness. I have always believed that teaching your children to be grateful is one of the most valuable life lessons you can give them, and now researchers are saying gratitude could actually be good for their health!
Researchers have consistently found that grateful people tend to be happier, healthier, and more optimistic. They feel better about themselves and are able to manage stress more effectively when life gets challenging. In fact, grateful people have a higher level of satisfaction in life, including their relationships, work, and health.
Gratitude is good for a child because it has been found to be the most consistent predictor of well-being later in life. In other words, researchers have found that grateful children grow up to be happier, healthier, better-adjusted adults.
Of course, gratitude is easy when things are all rosy in your life, it becomes a much more difficult lesson to teach when things are rough, as they often can be in everyone’s life. But God teaches us to count our blessings and to be grateful for each and every day that is given us — even if it should happen to be one filled with adversity.
So how does one impart that lesson to a child whose default is probably just the opposite — to instantly hate the world and everything about it, when the simplest things do not go his or her way? Here are some valuable tips to teach gratitude to your kids.
Tips for Teaching Gratitude to Your Children
Of course like any life lesson, you have to set an example yourself. Here are a few ways you can model gratitude for your kids:
- Look at pictures you’ve taken and point out to your kids, the things to be thankful for in the photos.
- Write out your thoughts of gratitude in a journal so that you can reference them when you’re feeling a “bit off”.
- Always take the time to pause, and to look at what is in front of you with gratitude.
- Tell someone you are thankful for them over the phone or through a note.
- Take a deep breath and on the breath coming out, take time to carefully look around you with an infusion of gratitude. Think about why expressing gratitude is good.
The experts say that one of the most important things you can do to teach gratitude to you kids is to tell them each and every day, how grateful you are for them – what a blessing from God they are in your lives, and what a valuable contribution they make to the family.
The major life lesson that kids walk away with when they embrace gratefulness, is to be happy with what they have, rather than to be thirsty for the next thing or moment. Of course, kids are still kids. But parents can encourage their children to be at peace with their circumstances.
Gratitude is good because an environment of thankfulness is able to bring kids back to a place of peace, humility, and respect for God and the world, and that is what will provide them with the foundation for a lifetime of health and happiness.
Have a safe, blessed and Happy Thanksgiving – and take the time in between mouthfuls of turkey and pumpkin pie, to look around that table at your families, and know what you have to be thankful for!