Whenever I mention to parents that I wrote a children’s book on gratitude, they almost always say, “That is so needed today.”
Then they tell me about the constant “I wants” they deal with and how difficult it can be to manage expectations, especially around the holidays.
As a gratitude expert, it may surprise you to know that I think this is OK. It is OK for kids to want gifts – lots of gifts – for the holidays. After all, isn’t that what being a kid is all about?
The holidays are about giving AND receiving so let’s not take the receiving part away from them – or yourself either!
I think where the frustration comes in for parents is in the lack of real appreciation when kids do receive a gift. And that’s where I come in.
Being grateful isn’t about wanting less or sacrificing more. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
One of the biggest benefits of practicing gratitude is that it puts you in touch with what you love most in life. It helps you stay focused on the things that give you joy, and, often without you even noticing it, guides you toward those things so you can have more of them.
Yes, having more – more of the things you love. More happiness. More joy. More peace. More love. And the more you appreciate these things, the more you’ll find them miraculously showing up in your life.
So how do we create an attitude of gratitude in our children?
One of the most valuable coaching tips I received in my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (you can learn more about my experience here) is the concept of “crowding out.” Instead of focusing on what a client should NOT be eating, Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches inspire clients to add more goodness to their diet – more greens, more healthy fats, more water, and more self-love.
It’s the same with kids. Instead of telling a child that they should be grateful, focus on creating healthy habits such as keeping a gratitude jar or asking them to say one thing they are grateful for at meal time or bed time each night. The real key here is p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e. It has to be a regular practice, something you do the same time each day or each week, in order for gratitude to be at the forefront of your mind – and your children’s minds – on a regular basis.
I was amazed at how much kids were able to share what they knew about gratitude at my workshop and book signing this past weekend. I believe that kids truly are grateful at heart, but like the rest of us, they are bombarded with commercial messages that take away from appreciating the good things in life and need tools to help reinforce positivity and appreciation.
GratitudeToBliss.com is dedicated to creating tools to help you practice gratitude all year long as a way to bring more goodness into your life.
Go ahead, say it, “I want more.” It’s OK.
What do you want more of? Please leave a comment below!