It’s not easy to fit a new year’s resolution into one word; thankfully, today’s letter is g for gratitude and gratitude makes a day great for kids.
Being at home or going back to work, daycare or playschool is hard on a Monday. Especially after the weekend and holiday break, it’s all too tempting to grumble. Grumble is another g word but it doesn’t make us feel better like gratitude does. We’ve all heard the expression how something is a double-edged sword. In a way, gratitude is a double-edged magic wand. It makes both the person saying thank you and the one-hearing it smile.
Kids are like adults, they get grouchy too but they need our help in developing the tools to cope and reset. Giving them a model to imitate is one way. Hearing and seeing us being grateful is helpful. We may say something simple like, “Oh, it’s hard to be happy this morning. I feel sad the holidays are over, but I am so glad we had a good time when….” Fill in the space with something you are grateful for. Memories can be very powerful for sustaining us.
Saying thank you can be a kind of game. Find a few things and say thank you to your child, like: thanks for picking up your blanket, thanks for helping me with the laundry, and if we’re really lucky, thanks for playing quietly while I was on the phone. You may need to be creative to change a really bad mood, such as thanking a tummy for the giggles when you give a tickle. Being silly is part of the fun. Thank the spoon for helping us eat cereal. Thank the cup for not leaking. This is like a tickle to the imagination and the result is more giggles.
When answering the question, “Why is gratitude so important for children?” I like the answer given by Mikelle Despain, “ Gratitude isn’t just about being a successful contributing member of society; it is teaching a child how to live happy, beautiful lives.” Would you agree, gratitude makes a day great for kids gratitude —and adults?