Gratitude is a happy emotion, a feeling, a compassionate gesture, an empathetic approach and more importantly a happy way of leading life. It means appreciating and being thankful for the people and things that we see and have in our life. In unprecedented times, such as the current pandemic of Covid 19, this gratitude is a saviour virtue that has kept us sailing through. Irrespective of whatever times we are in, practising gratitude should be our regular trait.
The most common form of expressing gratitude is by saying ‘Thank you’ which is powerful and healing. The expression of thankfulness brings happiness and feel good factor. We can easily practise gratitude in our daily life acts and conversations. It is important to bring these thank you conversations with children too. One can try these simple ways to make gratitude a daily habit in children, but remember that parents have to model this habit first:
1. Start the day with positive self-talk, affirmation and gratitude.
Parents can say these:
- I got another day to do great things.
- Today I will do it.
- I am lucky to see another beautiful sunshine today.
- You are a like a sweet song. My kiddo.
The children are quick learners. Shortly they would start saying things like :
- Thank you Mom for waking me up today. You are my life.
- Thank you Dad for sharing your childhood story last night. You have inspired me.
- I am blessed to have a loving family.
- I am proud to be in school.
2. Include thank you and positive insights in regular conversation with children. Make the conversation hearty and full of gratefulness.
Child: I don’t want to eat sandwich.
Parent: Sandwich is lucky to get me. I am loving it. Thank you Sandwich.
Child: Oh! It started raining. Now my friends will not come to play.
Parent: Never mind. Rains have arrived to dance with us. Come on, take umbrella and let us shake a bit. It will be fun too. Thank you Rains.
3. Celebrate Gratitude Day every month. Tell children that as a family we will acknowledge all the good things in our life. Some good things are fixed, like family, house, garden, pets, schooling and some good things will be added regularly like school function, birthdays, adventure park visit, timely dental treatment and contest winner. Monthly gratitude days can be celebrated in many creative ways.
- Collect best gratitude quotes.
- Send thank you notes to those whom you appreciate (teachers, doctors, house staff, gardener).
- Plan gratitude gift for grandparents.
- Make a gratitude prayer.
- Plan gratitude get together.
- Make a gratitude call to those whom you appreciate.
- Take gratitude photos like that of rising sun, chirping bird, blooming flower, fruits in your breakfast, your favourite dress, your favourite toy etc.
4. Make a Gratitude shelf in your home. Keep all your gratitude records in form of thank you notes, gratitude jars/boxes, gratitude journal, books and gifts on the shelf. Whenever, you are feeling low, visit this shelf for mental boost and happiness. Encourage children to keep their thank you expressions either in gratitude jars/boxes or write in gratitude journal. Daily thank you notes should be filled in gratitude jars/boxes.
For example, the thank you notes such as:
- I am grateful for food today.
- I am thankful to my sister for helping me in studies.
- I am happy that my friend called me.
- I am happy to found my old story book.
- I am blessed that I am safe at my home.
5. Walk in nature is a great activity to bring thankfulness in your approach. Get children outdoors or it can be even a visit to the garden or balcony receiving sunlight and air. Nature is an excellent resource to bring calmness and peaceful vibes. Talk with children about the attributes of Mother Nature and how we human beings are grateful towards it. We can show gratitude to nature by adopting sustainable living style :-
- Reuse containers.
- Use eco-friendly straws.
- Use less disposables.
- Use cloth bag to shop.
- Carry your own water bottle.
Practising gratitude is an essential life skill and habit to stay positive in life. So, let’s feel happy and lucky with our blessings and be grateful.