Did you know you can teach your child to be a happier person?
Research in positive psychology has found a strong and consistent association between gratitude and greater happiness.
Gratitude can be described as the appreciation of what you have whether it’s tangible or intangible. You can feel and express it in multiple ways: retrieving happy memories from the past, appreciating things you have or that are happening right now and also being optimistic and hopeful about the future.
By teaching your child about gratitude from a young age it can help them to become happier and more optimistic adults. It can be as simple as asking your child the question “what are you grateful for today?” at dinner each night. Of course sharing what you are grateful for today will be important as well.
1. Demonstrate your own gratitude daily. Modelling gratitude is the best way to start growing your own child’s
2. Ask them each day “what are you grateful for?”. (We do this during dinner time and each say one thing we are grateful for that day)
3. Read books about gratitude together.(“Thankful” by Eileen Spinelli and “Grow Grateful” by Sage Foster-Lasser are two good ones).
4. Re-frame negative events and situations to find even small elements that they can be grateful for. (E.g. “I know you are feeling sad that swimming was cancelled due to COVID. It’s so frustrating that we’ve had to miss out on doing things we love. I’m grateful that we get to spend more time at home today reading books together instead”)
5. Talk about different types of gratitude with them. You can be grateful for people in your life (family and friends), things people have done for you (someone cooking you dinner or
reading you a book), things you’ve been able to do for someone else (donate toys you no longer play with or water your neighbours garden while they were away), things you get to do (go on a holiday or to the beach), things that are happening in the world or your community, and things you have (nice house, toys, healthy body) etc. Also thinking about things in the past they might be grateful for or things that are happening in the future.
These are some simple way that you can grow your child’s gratitude and hopefully they’ll carry it through life with them