Gratitude is the best attitude

As we step into the holiday season, we are reminded to be grateful. Both gratitude and thankfulness are positive practices that are important, not just during the holidays, but in our everyday lives. There is a difference between how we use these two emotions: gratitude is being thankful a hundred times over!

While we are thankful in response to a specific experience, gratitude is an overall mindset of long-term appreciation for the graces given to us and what makes us happy, even during difficult times. Practicing gratitude is associated with increased well-being and improved mental and physical health. It is not only good for you but strengthens your relationships as well.

Children learn gratitude from the example of their parents and other adults in their lives. Here are five ways to share the gift of gratitude and appreciation with your children during holiday season:

  1. Encourage your child to say, “thank you.” Be consistent so it becomes second nature. This reminder will help kids start to recognize the generosity of others. You can also teach kids to say thank you by writing or drawing thank you cards.
  2. Demonstrate gratitude to your child. Children learn to be grateful by seeing their parents’ express thankfulness. Make it a point to model gratitude by sharing the things you are thankful for. Create a gratitude jar for the family to write down what brings them joy and then read out them together.
  3. Give back by volunteering or donating to those less fortunate. By giving back children learn gratitude by serving others. With our busy lives it can be difficult to find the time, but giving to others benefits the community and has been shown to help make us happier and give us a sense of purpose.
  4. Start a gratitude journal. Journals are a creative way to introduce children to thankfulness. For kids who cannot write yet, they can draw pictures instead. This activity helps children understand and cultivate appreciation for the blessings in their lives.
  5. Read stories about thankfulness and gratitude. Check out this list of books (link to Picture Books To Inspire Gratitude — Doing Good Together™) and find a book to enjoy as a family.