TGIF Parents! It is another weekend and we are looking at ways we can ensure gratitude as an attitude in the family. November for LagosMums is a whole month of gratitude, and making sure we are intentional on having a grateful heart; and also that families, especially children are picking up the right lessons in this regard. This generation of Gen Z or millennials are known for their want for everything new and flashy; and they are learning this from the urban culture and environment around them, that they grew up in, and also from the media.
Parents have a big role to play in ensuring an attitude of gratitude, by deciding that they do not want to raise materialistic children; and defining these material goods as ‘additions’ that does not define them. Parents need to be aware that no child is born wanting material things; if they are like that, they are picking it from somewhere. Here are five(5) things to ensure an attitude of gratitude in the family, especially in children.
Model Gratitude to your Children
Parents are to note that our children do what we do more than what we say. We need to know it’s not about the big English we speak, and all the rules we put in place; our children are watching us and they are doing more of what we do, than what we say. So parents need to want to start with the basic things at home; little manners that sometimes can be taken for granted, such as saying thank you and appreciating the little things. Get them used to be polite, respectful, and kind to everybody in their household; and this will then spill out into the community as well.
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When your children also see you saying thank you, being grateful to God, saying “thank you for today”. The home is the first laboratory to make sure that your children have all these little picks and mixes of gratitude; and then they can start from there.
Having Mealtimes together
Mealtimes are really critical in ensuring an attitude of gratitude in the family. Having screen-free mealtimes, that is, putting our phones and gadgets down while sharing a meal at the dining table, and sharing about our day will give project acts of gratitude. Letting everyone have the time to discuss how their day went over a decent meal; showing gratitude for how activities of the day were concluded will make for a grateful heart and attitude.
Keep Communication Open
Having discussions with our children regarding gratitude is another important way to ensure a positive attitude from them. Parents should ensure to ask leading questions; so don’t ask your child or your spouse “How was your day?”, they are going to say “it was fine” or “It wasn’t fine”; from this, you haven’t learned anything, but rather, ask questions like; “What did you learn today?”, “Anything surprising about today?, “What happened to make you happy?” “Did anything upset you?” Those kinds of questions will then unlock conversation; and the earlier you get your child started with being able to express their emotions, the easier it is for them to be able to use their words to explain however they are feeling.
Communication is all about talking and listening; no feeling or emotion in itself is bad, it is the ability to identify it know how you’re feeling, and then know the steps to take that are critical life skills that we all want our children to learn.
Practice Gratitude with your Children
Practical application of acts of gratitude will develop a positive attitude towards it in our family and the community as a whole. When a child learns that there’s a bigger purpose in life than just them, it starts to translate into everything; their schoolwork, their friendships, how they help other people how they volunteer in the community and how they think about those who are less privileged than them.
For instance, Christmas is coming, parents and children can decide to find a motherless baby home around and take products to them; not just old and worn out toys and materials as that suggests that you are discarding things, rather a conscious purchase of new toys or new clothes and food materials to give to them. It may seem little, but while you add it up over time, you’ll suddenly see your children in their teenage years and the way they talk and behave is because those early years were based on this foundation of being grateful.
Encourage Writing down things you’re thankful for
Another step to ensure an attitude of gratitude is by writing down the things we are thankful for daily Starting this practice in the home might seem tough, but once you get into it, it becomes easier. Kickstarting an attitude for gratitude in this manner is the right way to go; writing three things you are grateful for in a gratitude journal and doing it as a family is the best practice.
Over time, your children will take note of your attitude towards this and follow in doing the same.
As a family, to stay grateful and have that attitude, you to be constantly working on it. It has been a challenging year for most families on several levels, and taking it one day at a time is the right way to go
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