Gratitude has a lot to teach us about healthy kids. Help your child blossom by simply bringing awareness to gratitude in your family’s life.
We’ve even thought up three easy things you can do to invite gratitude into your family’s rhythm and transform your child’s life.
How are you cultivating gratitude in your home? Share with us in the comments below!
Why Does Gratitude Matter?
It turns out gratitude sparks a whole bunch of goodness and health in our lives! The wisdom of our spiritual foremothers and forefathers is even showing up today in academic research.
- can lower blood pressure and improve immune health
- can reduce lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders
- is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide
- can decrease the likelihood of smoking, alcohol abuse
- blocks toxic emotions like envy, resentment, regret, and depression
- is associated with healthy levels of cholesterol
- can facilitate more efficient sleep
- reduces stress hormones
- contributes to a healthy nervous system
- lowers levels of creatinine (an indicator of the kidney’s ability to filter waste in the body)
- can improve diet and exercise routines
- improves satisfaction in relationships
- can create a more generalized sense of optimism and joy
My goodness! That’s an overwhelming number of perks. Do you want to help your children access these benefits with simple practices? Of course! Read on to invite more gratitude into your child’s life and your life, too.
Give things, talents, time, and resources to others, particularly those in need. Make this a common practice your child takes part in. Not only does this inspire gratitude; over time, actively giving to others shows them their worth as it relates to others. And it creates a habit of generosity.
Consumerism, in order to survive, tells us that we aren’t enough and we have too little. Giving to others helps a child see through this myth. In reality, we are enough and we each have so much to give.
Brainstorm with your child about what they have to give, e.g.: stuffed animals, clothes, money, time, or talents. Then, pay attention to their passions. Listen to what in the world makes them sad and angry. Pair this with their passion and equip them to make a difference.
Children learn the concept of abundance as they see just how much they already have. And awareness of abundance breeds gratitude.
Research is showing us that there’s an interesting correlation between empathy and gratitude. The way adults relate to children may have an impact on their ability to gratitude as they grow.
Older children who practice gratitude were more likely as young children to have understood the emotions of others. So, help children notice and interpret others’ emotional experiences.
Talk with children about how they feel and why, even from the beginning of life. Also, model this as you reflect with them on your own feelings.
Research tells us that when caregivers lay this foundation for emotional intelligence they simultaneously plant seeds that will grow gratitude later.
Express It Together
Consistently express as a family what it is that you are each, and collectively, thankful for. For example, say grace before eating. Do bedtime prayers. Or take time during meals or drives to and from school to share things you’re grateful for.
It doesn’t need to be a big production. Remind your children (and yourself) that it isn’t about saying it the right way. Simply give voice to the gifts you all come across in your day.
Sharing special times of gratitude brings your child’s attention to happy and hopeful moments during their day. Consequently, they’ll form neuropathways that encourage gratitude, joy, generosity, and health going forward. Powerful gifts for our kids, right?!
We hope your family discovers even more ways of inviting gratitude into your home! You are already giving your child treasures to take with them each time you practice gratitude. And what will the world look like once these resilient, hopeful and strong kids grow into adults? I can only imagine and we can’t wait to be witness to their greatness.
Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating. May it be rich and restful and bursting with gratitude.