Exploring Gratitude With Your Child

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

It’s known that expressing gratitude is key to building relationships and knowing that you’re a trustworthy and reasonable person. Like compassion, kindness, and honesty, gratitude is seen as a key value people should hold. For children, developing gratitude will give them a new opportunity to use their skills, raise confidence and let them be more open to social struggles. To explore gratitude with your child, here’s some advice from an independent school in Buckinghamshire.

Exploring Gratitude With Your Child

Show How To Express Gratitude:

Being grateful is to essentially be thankful and appreciative of things in your life, gifts, others’ support, and more. Model it in your own life, I write down in my own gratitude journal 3 things I’m grateful for each day and frequently ask the children in the car after school to name 3 good things about their day, and in front of your child so that they learn to follow your lead. Say thank you to your child and praise them for doing the right thing in front of them; they’ll remember those little statements and moments of affection as they get older and know how to speak to others when they’re older.

Provide materials to help them express and capture their gratitude, notebooks, sketchbooks, stickers, coloured pens, affirmation cards, the list is endless but anything that helps them feel creative.

Have A Lenient Parenting Style:

Show that you’re in control with a strict level of parenting, but also be flexible. Let them explore things for themselves and let them see what happens. They may be interested in a particular hobby that’s different from what everyone else is taking, but is curious regardless. Let them take ownership for their own interests and what they’d like to pursue, but also take an interest in what they’re doing and help them along the way.

Let them have a bunch of responsibilities that are age-appropriate, such as vacuuming the home or helping with cooking the dinner. Getting them involved in tasks that their parents have to do regularly will make them aware of the work that goes on without them possibly even realising. They’ll feel much more thankful for the work done in the home if they’ve been subject to doing it for themselves.

Help Your Child Find Things That Matter To Them:

Whether they have specific causes they’re interested in or hobbies that really matter to them, having things that really matter to children will show them how grateful they are to have them. Volunteering or allowing your child to take part in events and social initiatives such as Pride, litter picking meetups or supporting a local care home all highlight issues that open your child’s eyes. 

It can also spark more motivation and curiosity in young adults as they learn more about their society and what they can do to help those less fortunate. Children are able to build relationships with a focused mind and be able to relate to different people as they become more sociable.

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