I wrote this week’s column for the OC Register’s website about cultivating thankfulness in our kids:
Keeping a perspective of gratitude is a hard lesson in life – one that many adults have not even mastered. But instilling the practice of being thankful in our children is a habit that will benefit them throughout their life: people who hold a worldview of being thankful tend to report more contentment and also tend to cope better with life’s challenges.
There are several tips for teaching your children the art of being grateful, but the most influential (and perhaps most challenging) method for developing this habit in your children is by example. Cliché as it may sound, children are keen observers of their parents’ attitude and outlook. If they hear more grumbling and complaining than appreciation, they are likely to develop this pattern themselves.
Thanksgiving is a great time to introduce traditions around being thankful, but I would encourage you to look at this season as a jumping-off point. Think about incorporating some of these ideas into the rest of the year. A child will not learn about being thankful by a couple rituals that they take part in once a year. It will need to become a part of their daily practice in order to really take root in their way of thinking.
How do you teach your children gratitude? And what are you thankful for this year?
We are looking forward to a day of reflecting on life’s blessings. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!