The Importance Of Teaching Gratitude

Being thankful for what we have, appreciating the little things, and showing gratitude to those around us is more than simply being pleased with what we have. It’s an important life skill that amplifies our own awareness and boosts our happiness. In fact, gratitude reduces stress, anxiety and balances our positive well-being. The great thing is, it’s never too early to learn gratitude.

We live in an incredibly fast-paced world where things come and go so quickly. We are wasteful, things are easily replaced, and we can fall into a pattern of believing everything is at our fingertips. This means taking everything for granted.

The problem with this is, the more we have, the less we appreciate them and the harder it is for us to feel happy or satisfied. Gratitude persuades us to be thankful for what we have so we can be inspired and feel better about our lives. It encourages empathy, understanding, increases self-esteem and resilience, and is overall a powerful tool to give to our children.

Here is a guide on how you can be teaching gratitude to your children.

Model Gratitude

Gratitude is not an easy concept for young kids to understand, but children learn by example. This means they will watch us and often mirror our behaviour, beliefs, and values. The older our children get, the more attune they are to empathy, which is closely related to gratitude. Understanding other people’s feelings and actions helps children to understand when they do something generous.

Daily Gratitude And A Gratitude Journal

Encouraging children to take account of the things they are grateful for every day is a great thing to do at the dinner table. By giving them examples of things we are grateful for they can learn to reflect on their day and recognise something they are grateful for such as a friend in school. We can also encourage older children to write a gratitude journal to keep note of everything they are thankful for.

Saying Thank You And Random Acts Of Kindness

"Say thank you," is one of the first forms of communication we encourage in our children, but without context or meaning this can simply be performative. Encouraging good manners comes from us as we thank the postman, the shop assistant, and the lollipop lady or recognise when someone has been helpful out of the kindness of their heart. Expressing our appreciation helps them understand thanks, kindness, appreciation, and gratitude.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness and gratitude are very much linked. We can show our gratitude as we tune in to the world around us and be thankful for what we have. By encouraging mindfulness, such as going for a mindful walk, we urge our children to recognise and appreciate the world around them.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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