Gratitude is a powerful way to turn around your thinking––on the one hand, the cup can be half empty. On the other hand, it can be half full. It all depends on your perspective and the gratitude perspective will always allow a person to see what is good or even great about their situation than to fall into despair or apathy, restlessly wishing life was different. It is therefore vital to teach children from early on the power of gratitude in their own lives, both as an attitude of mind and as an emotional motivator to keep going. More importantly, one of the benefits of having such children is that they first become thankful of you as parent.
Help your children to notice and be thankful for all the fun things life has to offer by actively pointing out the wonders around them on a regular basis. Human created things such as tooth fairies, clowns, bubbles, bubble gum, balloons, jump rope and many others are ideal to begin with. Also focus on nature and help children to see the beauty around them daily, from the birdsong and the trees to the mighty mountains and rivers of their country. Listen for children’s laughter and babies chatter. Comment on it frequently so that your children find it perfectly normal to seek out the happy, beautiful human sounds and to actively seek laughter. By remarking on such positive emotions in humans around their own age, they will be encouraged to see this as an expected norm. Help children to notice and be glad for their freedom. If you live in a place like the United States of America, Canada, the UK, Australia New Zealand, or another democratic society, teach your child about the democratic legacy they have
inherited. Many people around the world do not have the same freedom to speak their mind, many cannot expect those in power to listen to them directly, and many are not even able to travel, work or worship freely. Teaching children how important it is to value their freedoms, liberties and responsibilities is a valuable lesson. As they grow, help them also to understand how to be a good citizen. o Help children read stories suitable to their age about the political, cultural and social development of their country. And don't leave it just at your own country; learn about other countries too so that they feel connected. In the age of the internet, this has never been easier nor more important. o When your child is old enough, help them to read such important documents as your country's Constitution, Bill of Rights, human rights documents and international equivalents. They will learn gratitude for the amazing thinkers of the past who have left them with these legacies. Thank your friends
and family for caring for you and all they do for you and do this often in front of your child. They and others care about you and it is important for children to grow up knowing this openly and not be afraid to express the same sentiments themselves. Show appreciation for the food you eat. Many in the world go hungry and many of us have stopped respecting the food trail from farmer through to our table. It is important for children to understand how food is grown, how food is transported and sold before it gets to your home. Help them learn about this food trail and understand all the people involved in growing and producing food. Tell your children stories about food you had when you were younger and how it has changed over time. And always say thank you at the table before a meal, whether it is faith-based or a secular recognition, it is an important part of helping children learn gratitude toward what nourishes them. o Get your children to grow some of their own food. From radishes and lettuces
through to corn stalks and even a little wheat, having your children learn how to grow their own food will teach them much about the effort of creating food and they will be more grateful toward those who help food reach our tables. o Include children in your cooking. Children are never too young to learn to make food alongside you. It is an important part of understanding nutrition and respecting that food doesn't just simply turn up on the dinner table. Help your children to enjoy the sun. Tell them how great it feels on your face, how it provides light to us and energy to plants which in turn become our food. Help them to understand how amazing it is that planet Earth is in a ''just right'' position to the Sun, allowing us to thrive and to have forests, oceans, water cycles and more, that sustain us and other living beings. Look closely for trees every time you go out with your children. Even in the most concrete environment, teach them to look for the trees forcing their way
through the steel and cement barriers, adding a little green beauty. In fall, help children appreciate their scarlet and golden leaves––do craft projects together using the leaves, rake them up together or just dive into piles of leaves and have a good laugh. And tell children that trees are special because they house birds, squirrels and many other creatures, they give us oxygen and they also provide wood for cozy fires where children can enjoy hot chocolate and s'mores. Turn cloudy and wet days into an exercise of gratitude. When the whining begins about it being too wet, too windy or too dull, help children to be grateful for what they do have. They are in a safe, cozy environment away from the rain. They are able to do lots of fun things such as read books, watch a movie, draw pictures, bake, write a story, talk to you, spend time playing with a sibling, etc. Or get them to don their rain boots and raincoat and head on outside for puddle splashing. Watch in the rain for rainbows––they are
free to everyone and can inspire the most amazing ideas in a child's mind. Teach children that it's important to connect with others. We are not here to do it alone. We are each incomplete and while we bring our own strengths to bear when seek to achieve something, it is only when we connect our strengths with those of others that we can truly achieve. Teach children that they are fine as they are and to be grateful that in connecting with others, they have the opportunity to be their very best selves. From time to time, ask your children what makes them feel grateful. Some parents do this daily but as long as you do it regularly, it will keep your children attuned to gratitude. For example, asking them ''What three things made you grateful today/this week/this month?'' is a good way to begin. At the end of the year, do a ''gratefulness'' round-up together, to allow them to take stock of the things they are grateful for over the past year. Now and then ask your
children to talk about the people in their lives that they're grateful for, and why. Tell your children often that they have the power within to turn gloom into happiness simply by changing their attitude. Tell them that they will be happy if they choose to be thankful, if they are warm and open to others, and if they regularly stop to assess what is good about their life and what they have already by way of relationships, love and personal achievements. Help them by explaining often that money does not buy happiness, but gratitude does. Insist that your children acknowledge gifts in an age-appropriate way. Nothing is less welcome in a child than a sense of entitlement. Keep a list of holiday gifts/givers and make sure children thank the donor. No one cares if the note is misspelled or messy. Everyone cares if it is missing.