Inside: 5 simple activities families can do together to make sure they’re raising grateful kids.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like as moms we spend a lot of time thinking about what we don’t have. We think “if we just had enough money to pay for private school, everything would be perfect. Our kids would get a better education and it would set them up to go to college wherever they want.”
Or we think things like “If I had a better job, I could save more money for college tuition for my kids. Then they wouldn’t have to take out student loans like I did.”
We’re always comparing our lives to others– our houses, cars, jobs, vacations. We think if we could just have what they have, we’d be so much happier.
I daydream about how much better life might be for my kids if we had a bigger house with a fenced-in backyard……Maybe my kids would play outside more and they would play less video games.
I think about what it would be like to have a vacation home on the beach. A place we could run off to on the weekends without having to make a reservation 6 months out.
Sometimes I get carried away and let these thoughts consume me so much that I forget about all that we do have:
- We have a place to live that that has heat in the winter and air condition in the summer.
- There’s never a time that we have to worry about when our next meal will be.
- We’re all pretty physically healthy, besides maybe needing to cut back on having dessert EVERY night.
- We have family living close by that we get to spend time with whenever we want to. Not to mention babysitters almost anytime we need them.
- Our community is safe and we have plenty of friends who live close by.
- We have a school that’s actually in our neighborhood. It has the best teachers who genuinely care and want every child to succeed.
I could go on and on once I start thinking about all the things my family has to be grateful for. But the key is making myself think about what we do have instead of what we don’t have.
I want this for my kids too. For one thing, I don’t want them to be spoiled and entitled brats who expect to get everything they want. I also want them to appreciate that we are blessed and that not everyone has a playroom so full of toys that they couldn’t fit one more.
To teach my kids gratitude not only do I have to set a good example by practicing it myself, but I also have to find ways to show them how to be grateful.November is a great time to focus on raising more grateful kids. Since it’s the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, we’re already thinking about gratitude a lot more. Your kids will probably learn about gratitude in school. If not, there will be plenty of shows and movies to choose from that focus on it.
So instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday, like what you’re going to eat with your turkey and where you’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner, take advantage of this time to practice being more grateful.
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5 FAMILY ACTIVITIES TO HELP YOU RAISE GRATEFUL KIDS:
1. TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR
Help your family get into the habit of being grateful by making it a part of your daily routine. Pick a time that’s convenient for all of you to share what you’re grateful for. It could be while you’re eating dinner together at night or during your kids’ bedtime routine. Just try to be consistent and do it at the same time every day.
If you’re having trouble coming up with something to be grateful for, just start small. You can be thankful that you have clothes to wear or thankful that you have food in your fridge to eat.
Sometimes your kids might need you to help them come up with things they’re grateful for too. It’s ok for you to help them! Eventually, it will get easier and they will be more likely to share on their own.
2. MAKE A THANKFUL PUMPKIN
All you need is a pumpkin and a sharpie. Every day, each person in your family can write one thing they’re thankful for on the pumpkin.
Then you can use your thankful pumpkin as a centerpiece and conversation starter at Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone can take turns saying what they wrote and what being thankful means to them.
3. TEACH YOUR KIDS TO WRITE THANK YOU NOTES
Call me old fashioned, but I love getting handwritten cards in the mail. Writing thank-you notes helps you express your gratitude to others. Besides, I just think it’s the right thing to do.
An easy way to raise grateful kids is to teach them to send a thank you note anytime they receive a gift.
When they’re younger, you can have your child draw a picture on the note and tell you what to write. Once your child can write on their own, even if it’s not perfect, let them! They’ll be practicing their writing skills without even realizing it, and that’s always an added bonus.
4. VOLUNTEER TOGETHER AS A FAMILY
Volunteering is a great way to change your perspective and help kids see how much they have to be grateful for. This time of year, there are tons of great opportunities for your family to volunteer together.
Here are a few ideas:
– Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people in your community. Many organizations are already doing this every year and they always need help on holidays.
– Adopt a family and bring them what they’d need to cook their own Thanksgiving dinner. You can make the grocery list together and even go to the store as a family to pick up the supplies. While you’re there, talk to your kids about how other families at their school might not have Thanksgiving dinner without help.
– Organize a canned food drive in your neighborhood. Your kids can help you set up a collection station or make flyers to pass out to your neighbors. Go together as a family to delier what you collect to a local food bank.
– Get creative. Think about what your family likes to do together and find ways to serve your community doing it. Helping others who are less fortunate than you is the best way to teach your kids gratitude. They probably don’t even realize how much they take what they have for granted.
5. FIND A GRATITUDE ROCK
It doesn’t actually have to be a rock, but the point is to find something that you can use as a symbol to remind you to be grateful. I like the idea of using a rock because you could easily put it in your pocket. Then when you see or feel the rock in your pocket, it will remind you to be grateful.
Paint or use markers to decorate your gratitude rocks together as a family while you talk about the things you’re grateful for.
These are just a few ideas of things you can do to raise grateful kids. What other activities that teach gratitude have you done with your family? Share your ideas or traditions in the comments!