November is the National Gratitude Month. While it might seem daunting to teach children how to recognize and acknowledge things to be grateful for it’s well worth the time for the lifelong benefits.
By definition gratitude is the state, feeling, or quality of being thankful. A state or feeling is a hard concept for little ones to grasp. How do we teach young children what gratitude is and how to practice it? Talking to children about people, places, things, and actions to be thankful for is a good place to start! Here are a few tips to encourage gratitude with your own family this month.
Children learn by observing, so the best teachers of gratitude are practitioners of gratitude. You can build gratitude into your daily schedule by thanking your spouse or children regularly for things they do or going around the dinner table each night to express gratitude for something from your day.
After swim lessons your swimmer may need a gentle reminder of “What do we say to Mr. Eddy?”. This may feel like an insincere “thank you” but it is really just helping them recognize opportunities for gratitude.
Yep, you read that right. You might think who would be thankful for chores? But including your children in the tasks required for maintaining your home can help them recognize the effort that goes into running a household. Model gratitude by thanking them for their efforts no matter how small or imperfect their task.
Starting Friday, November 13 we will have supplies for swimmers, their parents, and siblings to write things they are thankful for this year and post on the windows! We will also have supplies for you and your swimmer to write notes of appreciation and gratitude to their instructors. Once your notes are done just drop it off at the front desk for their instructor to pick up at the end of the session!
Studies have found that gratitude is linked to children’s happiness by the age of 5. Additionally, studies show that practicing gratitude can improve childrens’ and adults’ physical health, optimism, sleep, self esteem, resilience, and relationships while decreasing stress, aggression, and the likelihood for depression. Grateful adults tend to be more physically fit with higher incomes and lower blood pressures, while grateful children are even more likely to get better grades in school!