How to help your child become more grateful?
We celebrated my mother’s birthday last weekend and other than being one of the persons I am most grateful to have in my life, she is also the person who taught me the most about Gratitude.
Mind you, I was not always so grateful for her constant reminders to be thankful.
In fact, one of the sentences that I HATED the most was:
“Thank God, it could have been worse.”
To which I often responded with,
“Well, it could have also been better!!”
Not my finest moment, I admit.
It took me years to start facing life’s challenges (read: disasters), problems and losses with a grateful heart and a smile (sometimes a forced one). In fact, one of my favourite quotes now is: “It is not happy people who are grateful but grateful people who are happy.”
Applying what I learnt:
I now live by this simple truth. And believe me when I say that it is not always easy to live by my mother’s moto (guess who had water infiltration in her basement this week?). I could almost hear my mother’s words in my ears as we were cleaning up after the water had receded: “It could have been worse!” She was right then. She is right now. But it took me years to get to this point.
I do not want my own child to spend years, as I did, before coming to this realization. This is why I am a firm believer in teaching children about gratitude from a very young age.
In honour of the woman who taught me to “Thank God for everything,” I present you 4 activities that you can play with your children that will encourage thankfulness in a fun, non-preachy way.
Focusing on positive methods:
I am not a big believer in “guilt-driven” gratitude. A child should not be made to feel guilty that she/he does not live in a war-torn country, does not go hungry or does not lack adequate medication when needed. Sentences like “you are so lucky, other children don’t have any (fill in the blanks)” can be used every now and then, but negative associations to thankfulness breeds contempt, in some cases, and might lead to a rebellious reaction. Not the outcome we are hoping for. Ok, I am done with my own “preaching” – onto the activities.
Philo and The Joy SuperHoly is a great tool to jumpstart a conversation about remaining joyful in tough situations and being thankful when things don’t go the way we hoped they would. (Forgive the plugging of my own book – I could not help but share this resource with you.)
1- What can be more fun or “delicious” than a Gratitude Game involving M&Ms?
Hint: each colour corresponds to a category of subjects to be grateful for (example: person, place, memory etc.)
2- “What would you do if you did not have/could not”: I love this idea, but the post does not contain suggestions, so I created a list of 5 “things” to get you started with your hypothetical question:
- Your favourite toy
- Chocolate ever again (God forbid!)
- Your favourite book
- See your cousin for 6 months
- speak/run/sing for a week
3- Who does not love a game of Pictionary? Gratitude-Style!
Forget about drawing movie titles- you must draw something for which you are grateful instead. Click on the link for more instructions.
4- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt – I saved the best one for last! Use the Free Printable is included in this link.
“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Similar posts you might enjoy: Giving Him Thanks: Sunday School Lesson Plan
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