Want to know one of the best ways to instil resilience and emotional well-being in your child? Gratitude. The benefits of practicing it are nearly endless. From experiencing more positive emotions and sleeping better to improving your child’s immune system and their relationships. It is never too young to start:
1) The Win-Win: Give them less
As Christmas approaches, tiredness, bickering and pleading for the latest must-have toy tends to feature highly in most households. Embrace minimalism and never buy your child quite everything they want, so that they start to value a bit more what they have.
2) The Management Technique: Put them in charge
Putting your child in charge develops their sense of responsibility and enables them to appreciate the work that goes into managing a household. We’re always surprised at what even toddlers can do – e.g.. helping to unload groceries and putting napkins on the table. Older kids can help prepare dinner and unload the dishwasher.
3) The Contrarian Approach: Look at what not to do
Is your kid a fan of Horrid Henry or Dennis the Menace? Watch it together, talk about why giving a gift of green slime in an envelope does not espouse values of gratitude.
4) The Different Approach: Humility
Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to kids because they are hard-wired to be ego-centric and competitive. Model humility, eg. give others credit and thanks for a team job. And talk about how being grateful actually does have a benefit – how it makes us feel good.
5) The Practical Tip: Give experiential gifts
House exploding with stuff? Give your child membership to a museum or a day out with the whole family. Experiential gifts help build relationships and connections, a bedrock of gratitude.