“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more…It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
- Melody Beattie
Happy Holidays, Mamas!
We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Holidays are a busy, busy time for us parents – preparing meals, preparing our homes, and preparing our pockets for the extra expenses! But of course, you still found the time for what is at the heart of Thanksgiving…giving thanks, right?!
We each may have practiced different holiday traditions and ways to give thanks, but one thing’s for sure – expressing gratitude is a mood saver for us all. Having a grateful outlook on life obliterates roadblocks and paves the way to a full, happy life, as Melody Beattie stated.
Why do you think everyone’s so happy on Thanksgiving? Because we’re reminded to give thanks for an entire day! Okay, maybe it has to do with a little more than that…but studies indeed show that expressing gratitude has numerous positive effects!
CHICmom urges you and your family to continue in yesterday’s thankful spirits today, and every day…especially while you’re out scrambling to find the latest in fashion, gadgets and toys for your loved ones on this busy Black Friday.
As parents, it is important to lay the foundation for the road that leads our youth to full lives. Therefore, we must make thankfulness habitual. And CHICmom is here to help!
Here’s a list of 8 kid-friendly tips to cultivate good habits and help mold thankful, grateful, humble little citizens of the world!
1. Involve your child in your finances!
Don’t dismiss this idea just yet! It is a borrowed concept from a panelist of our 2017 CHICmom Spill the Tea event, and she proclaimed that it worked wonders for her children!
What’s more, I recently learned, from an interview she did with Robin Roberts, that Michelle Obama was a product of this very teaching!
I mean, sure, it negates the old faithful saying, “Because I said so!” but our panelist argued good points and certainly convinced me.
The idea is to bring home your check in cash along with your physical house bills or print outs of different expenses (clothing, activities, etc.). Have your child(ren) help allocate the appropriate amount of money and set it beside each bill/expense. Your child(ren) will witness the original “stack” of cash shrink as they physically distribute funds to ensure that each of their needs are met. In return, they will begin to see the value of your hard-earned money and will grow appreciation for the things you can do for them as well as for the things you cannot (or will not) do.
2. Show him/her an attitude of gratitude, firsthand!
Obvious? Yes. But how many times have you found yourself expecting of your child(ren) what you forget to do/won’t do, yourself? As you’re still counting on your fingers, let me just jump to the point! Children learn by what we do and less by what we say. If your child shows kindness, always reciprocate. Show your child(ren) that you appreciate him/her daily through communication, small gifts, or acts, which can be as simple as giving your time.
3. Have your child give to a child in need!
Your child donating toys or other personal belongings is a big deal! As we all know, children cling to their things like no one’s business! Donate things your child no longer needs or wants, but be sure to include a special toy or two. Take it a it a step further and have him/her physically deliver the items to a little girl or boy in need (when possible). This will help him/her connect with others while being thoughtful and selfless.
4. Encourage volunteerism!
True, volunteering at the local shelter, for example, isn’t the most glamorous or fun activity for children, but it helps his/her capacity for gratitude grow in more ways than one. Once pushed out of his/her comfort zone, your child will experience mental, emotional and spiritual growth. He/she will also develop a sense of community and pride when the results of the kind act is visible through his/her labor or through the tears of joy on the face of a recipient.
5. Use your child’s strengths!
What I mean is, after you’ve learned his/her unique strength, utilize it to involve your child and make him/her feel helpful. Being helpful leads to a sense of gratitude. If your child is great at decorating the house for the holidays, let ‘em! Call on him/her in your time of “need,” and be sure to thank your child and also praise the wonderful job he/she has done!
6. Set expectations when shopping!
It helps before making a fateful Target run (I say fateful because Target is no good for our pockets, lol) to actually tell your child, “Today is a ‘look’ day…“window shopping” only,” or “Today is a one-item-only” day. Having that dialogue with your child actually makes a HUGE difference, and helps him/her be grateful for purchasing days. Be sure to have more ‘look’ days than purchasing days as this will also aid in the development of gratitude.
7. Teach the value of earning and contributing!
Go the old fashioned way! Have your child earn an allowance and actually contribute $1-$5 a month toward a monthly reward, the family travel fund, or a desired toy. While creating a sense of responsibility, it also teaches the value of money and will help your child appreciate the activities he/she does and the things he/she has because they have contributed their hard-earned money.
8. Create a daily routine!
Again, gratefulness must become habitual. Borrow (or create) a saying, or decide on an engaging activity to commit to daily that will inspire thankfulness. For instance, at the start of each day, you and your child can say, “Today will be a wonderful day, I am thankful for it already!” Another example is to have him/her state one thing to be grateful for at dinner time.
We’ve adopted this idea from our very own CHICmom, Shanika Dennis, who has already created a terrific routine with her daughter, Mariah!
We appreciate all of our readers and we hope you found these tips to be beneficial. I encourage you to actively work on instilling a sense of gratitude in your child(ren), not just in the days surrounding this holiday of giving thanks, but every day!
In helping your child live a life of gratitude, you will ultimately alter how he/she views and responds to life’s twists and turns. By helping shift the focus in a more positive direction, your child will begin to appreciate life’s current blessings and learn to accept the things that cannot change; your child will experience more joy and be better prepared for life!
Wishing you and your family a life full of happiness today and always!