Helping your child understand what it means to be truly grateful will go a long way in allowing them to feel happy and fulfilled in life. It will also help them build strong relationships because they will have a stronger sense of value for the people around them. I have teamed up with an international school in North London to share some advice on how to explore gratitude with your child.
It’s one thing to say you are grateful for something, but it’s another to actually understand why you’re grateful. With that said, it would be wise to start asking your child to think about how certain experiences have made them feel, so that they can appreciate why it was so positive. For instance, ask them how it felt when they saw so many people turn up to their birthday party. Did it make them feel happy knowing that so many people care about them? Ask them how they felt when they saw their grandparents/cousins/friends for the first time in so long. Did they feel excited? Cheerful? Fortunate? Once your child understands a little more about how certain things make them feel, they will understand what they are actually expressing gratitude for.
Help your child look on the bright side by regularly pointing out all of the amazing things around you, even if they seem simple or boring. For instance, you can say things like “what a beautiful day, now you can play football at the park” or “I’m really glad your Grandma is feeling better”. By expressing these positive thoughts, you will teach your child that they can be grateful for anything in life, not just material possessions.
Once your child starts to understand what gratitude actually is, you could encourage them to keep a gratitude journal in which they jot down a few things that they feel grateful for that day. You should also show them how to express their gratitude. For instance, they could send their teacher some flowers at the end of term to show that they are grateful for all of their support. Another idea is to send their friend a card to say thank you for coming round to play at the weekend. Slowly but surely, expressing gratitude will start to become a force of habit for your child.