Recent studies show that gratitude is linked to overall
happiness and well-being. The more compelling news is that
gratitude can be learned. In other words, even "cup-half-empty"
types can improve their outlook on life by building their gratitude
Whether your child came into the world with an optimistic outlook or not - sprout more gratitude in your home with these simple ideas.
Beyond 'Thank You'
We all want polite children who say "thank you." Practicing the
language of gratitude is key, even if your child may not yet seem
Expand your child's thank you vocabulary. Introduce words from another language ("gracias!"), sing a thank you song or invent a thank you high five. By mixing it up, you'll breathe new life into grateful phrases.
Gratitude is a feeling. Your child may not always recognize that
feeling, but you can help him by describing it.
Paint picture with your imagination: "Wow! When you did that, it made me feel warm and fuzzy like a giant teddy bear just hugged me." Ask your child to describe how his "thank you" feels.
Help your child recognize all sorts of gifts. Wrapped gifts like
toys and treasures are often the most obvious to a child. It is
natural that your child has an easier time being grateful for
something he can see and play with.
Talk about other gifts we can be grateful for: good things to eat, feeling rested after a nap, park time with friends or snuggling with dad.
Keeping It Positive
When you were little, you likely heard someone say: "Eat your
vegetables! Kids are starving in [insert name of developing
country]." These messages may increase guilt, but likely not
Keep the focus on what you are grateful for in your life without negative comparisons. Gratitude naturally yields compassion and altruism for those nearby or in far-away places.
Journaling & Scrapbooking. With your
Sproutlet, keep a journal or scrapbook of things, people and events
you are thankful for.
Thank You Letter. Beyond the thank you note, try a thank you letter. Select a person who positively influences your life. Write a letter and read it in person.
Three Good Things. Practice daily gratitude. When you tuck in your Sproutlet at night, reflect together on three good things that happened during the day.
View It Together
Ask your child what three good things happened to a character in
the show you just watched. Build gratitude and empathy in your
child with this simple discussion.