Being grateful is a hard emotion to process for many kids. At least I’ve found that to be true in my classroom. I’m always so appreciative when a student says thank you, and unfortunately, I don’t hear it frequently. No matter what ups and downs life offers us, there are always reasons to be grateful. I think it’s imperative to teach children the “art” of being grateful. I believe teaching your children to be thankful regardless of the circumstances, impacts their lives in such a profound way. Going through life looking at the glass as half empty can really be a drag. Therefore, I suggest helping your kids look for the lessons in their failures, and show them how to take joy in the little things. Model this behavior for them so they can see you going through disruptive times with more ease.
It would be great to find at least three things each day to be grateful for and of course model them for your child. As a suggestion, have your youngster write down what he/she is grateful for. Writing can keep the child focused, and also help him process negative emotions. Certainly, this is a good exercise for kids of all ages, including adults.
Fortunately, a positive attitude can be cultivated with some practice. Even though we’re born with specific temperamental tendencies, (the glass is half full or half empty), the brain is a muscle, and can strengthen the mind’s natural tendency toward optimism if you work at it.
Here’s something else to think about; encourage kindness. Again, lead by example and show your child how to practice random acts of kindness. As an example, open a door for a stranger. You don’t have to do for another what I experienced, but you might think about it, as I must say it really made my day. The car in front of me paid the toll for the upcoming bridge, and told the toll keeper to wish me a good day. What a great random act of kindness which inspired me to do the same on another excursion.
Through kindness, kids will learn compassion. And, what a great lesson for them.