Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving: How to Raise Grateful Kids

Hello again, my dear conscious parent…

In the United States, we are celebrating Thanksgiving on Nov. 26. This is an important holiday especially because it brings extended families together and it reminds everyone “to count their blessings”.

I love Thanksgiving 💟. I don’t love what I see on social media on Thanksgiving: everyone’s public declarations of gratitude to the higher powers of the Universe for the many blessings in their life (family, kids, home, jobs, health, etc.). To me, this is the same ethical dilemma I have when I see parents posting their kids’ honor rolls and grades online. This is not how we raise confident children, and it is not how we raise grateful children.

So… how do we raise grateful children?

In my book, I write: “Gratitude and self-compassion are important elements of conscious parenting. When we practice both, we remind ourselves that we are safe in the world and worthy of living a beautiful life.” As with everything else in parenting, gratitude is a way of being that we must embody ourselves in order to raise grateful kids. Gratitude is not a practice, it is a way of living life every day.

Here are my TOP 5 practical tools you can start using today in order to raise a grateful child:

1. Start the day with a gratitude mantra that’s very simple and at the language-level of your child. Say it out loud and ask your child to repeat after you (every day). Be patient and let imperfections go by. You can build a ritual around this mantra right before you leave the house or before breakfast:

“Thank you for my wonderful Self and my wonderful life and my mom and my dad and my [toys, cat, dog, the road trip coming up, etc]. Thank you for all the love that I feel in my heart. I love you [insert you first names here]. I am perfect just the way I am.”

2. Give, give, give. Donate items, books, money, clothes, and food to the homeless, organisations and people in need, TOGETHER WITH YOUR CHILD. Take your child with you when you donate. Give 1$ to the homeless when your child is with you. Please, don’t lecture your child about your act. Modelling the act of kindness is enough for your child to learn that he/she has things in their life to be grateful for, no matter how young the child is.

3. Use birthday parties, holidays and phone conversations to tell people you are grateful for them. Let your child hear that. On a birthday card, you and your child together can add simple things like “Thank you for being my friend.”

4. Tell your child often that you are grateful for being their parent; that you love them just the way they are, and for no other reason.

“I am so grateful for being your mom/ your dad. Thank you for choosing me to be your mom/dad.”

5. Write in your gratitude journal at least one a week, if not every day. Invite your child to take part in the process, by asking simple things like: “What made you happy today? What are you grateful for today?” (Listen, listen, listen. Do not interrupt, correct or fix anything that your child says.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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