instilling gratitude in our children

Thanksgiving provides a great reason to talk to our kids about gratitude. But, the conversation need not end post turkey-and-stuffing food coma. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley recently found that, "people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%).” So, how can we work gratitude into our daily family life ... and begin instilling this practice in our little ones, even when they are still toddlers? Here are three ways:

1.     Create Gratitude Gift Lists—In addition to gift lists for Santa and Nana, help your child write a list of the less tangible gifts in their life, like for example, the woman who squeezed them out of her crotch or sustained major abdominal surgery to give them life. They’ll more likely say Daniel Tiger or Annie’s gummy snacks, but it’s a start!

2.     Make It a Routine—Add “What are you most thankful for today?” to your daily questions, perhaps at dinner or bedtime. Psychologists suggest making the concept more concrete by having children talk about a “rose” (e.g. mom made mac n cheese) and “thorn” (she snuck squash in the cheese) from their day.

3.     Have Look Days—Every once in a while take your kids shopping, but let them know beforehand that you do not intend to buy anything. Tell them to enjoy seeing and maybe even touching the cool stuff, but remind them that they probably don’t need a third Batman figurine (even though the arms move “more better” on this one).

How do you and your crew stop to smell the roses, even when the whole house reeks of spit up? Please share in the comments below!