November is a perfect time of year to take pause and reflect upon the many blessings in our lives that we often take for granted. Research shows that being thankful can boost our immune systems, reduce the risk of developing phobias, alcoholism and depression, and can even lower blood pressure.
People who are grateful exhibit less hostility (Cornell University Researchers, University of California at Davis Researchers). There are lots of mental and physical health benefits for kids who regularly practice gratitude. That’s why it is so important that we teach our children to practice gratitude each and every day and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to begin!
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps children to look at life in a positive way. looking at life. Gratitude can increase a child’s happiness, teach them to be more empathetic, and help them to be more thankful for everything they have.
The Benefits of Practicing Gratitude for Children
- Higher levels of happiness and optimism
- Improved sleep
- Less stress and an improved ability to cope with stress
- Fewer physical problems
- Reduced depression
- Less aggression
- Increased self esteem
- Improved resilience
Here are some great ideas to help you cultivate gratitude in your children
- Teach your children to say please and thank you
- Cultivates a sense of appreciation instead of entitlement
- Help someone less fortunate.
- This could be anyone who may be having a difficult time, a friend, neighbor or grandparent
- Help out at a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or food bank
- Send out thank you cards
- Express gratitude for anyone who has shown you kindness or love
- Look for awe-inspiring moments in your day
- Encourage children to look for their awe-inspiring moments and share them with you. A sunset, a birds nest, the ocean, a newborn baby laughing and playing
- Share your gratitude at the dinner table and at bedtime
- Ask your child what he or she is thankful for each day
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Some children will want to spend time writing their thoughts down. Others may be more apt to express their gratitude through drawing or painting
- Practice turning complaints into praises
- Coach your children to reword their complaints into something that they appreciate instead.
- Create a gratitude jar
- Encourage your children to add to it anytime they are feeling grateful for something or someone
Work through envy
- Help your child work through any feelings of jealousy she may have. Envy can come when we are not feeling thankful for what we have, and are focusing instead on what others have.