Research supports the benefits of gratitude. We know it affects our happiness and our health. Studies continue to link gratitude with life satisfaction. How can we move our kids away from entitlement and more toward gratitude. Here are three reminders to keep you moving in that direction.
1. Model and Teach Gratitude. Have a set aside time (dinner or bed-time) where family members share something from the day that they are grateful took place or are thankful to have.
2. Require “thank you” notes. Have kids write personal notes (or draw pictures if they are too young to write) to thank friends and family for gifts or acts of service. Require kids to write a note of thanks to a teacher or coach at the close of a school year or sports season, thanking them for their investment.
3. Prioritize Outreach & Service. One way to teach stewardship is through service –the acknowledgement that we’re grateful as a family for what we’ve been given and want to give back in response to that. Fold outreach into the rhythm of your family so that kids understand it’s as great (or greater) a priority as travel sports or extracurricular activities.
For more information on how to instill gratitude, check out Melissa and Sissy’s book Modern Parents, Vintage Values: Instilling Character in Today’s Kids. It’s a great, practical, idea-filled book on nurturing character.