A grateful adult tends to see life in a more positive way and oriented to reaching his potential as a person.
But it was not until 2006 that gratitude in children began to be studied as an important factor in the feeling of well-being and a sense of achievement.
In conclusion, various studies suggest that gratitude not only helps to form, maintain, and strengthen mutually supportive relationships, but also helps people feel connected to a community that appreciates and welcomes them.
In adolescents who live gratitude as a value, it has been confirmed that they are generally happier, optimistic people, have greater support from their community, and feel more satisfied with their appliance repair job, with school, family, friends, and themselves.
And now, knowing a little about the great benefits of being grateful in our children, the question remains:
How do you encourage gratitude in your philosophy of life?
1. Practice it yourself:
Your example, your attitude, your words will give them the guidelines to be grateful in life.
Listening to you thanking you for the simple things: someone to bring you a glass of water, to help you with things from the supermarket, to pass something to you that you dropped.
Being grateful for the service you receive from others shows that you recognize and appreciate them as such and mold in them ways that you can also serve and help others and that would be of value.
2. Prayer or meditation:
Regardless of religion or religiosity, practicing prayer or meditation is one of the quintessential ways to teach children gratitude.
Praying with a focus on gratitude helps you connect with the details of what is around you and makes you aware that they are there.
When they thank the new day together, the food on the table, the family they have, etc. They teach your child not to take what he is privileged to have for granted, but to be grateful for having it.
3. The service:
It might sound counterintuitive that serving others fosters gratitude, but it does.
When a person helps another in a selfless way, it does so because it connects with the needs of the other.
In doing so, he also experiences the vision of a life without that that his neighbor has and that, like him, can help.
In children it could be lending a pencil, sharing a snack, helping someone who does not understand a subject study, taking a child to the infirmary because they feel bad.
And that brings us to a child who, by practicing the two previous points, can recognize his privileges, his position of giving from what he has and what he can give and be aware of being grateful for them.
Now, it is relatively easy to give thanks in everyday situations, but when things have been particularly difficult,
How do we teach children to practice gratitude?
In adversity there is the trap that, by wanting to maintain optimism and be grateful with life, we close the space for our children to recognize and validate the difficult moment we have experienced.
I understand that seeing a negative outlook in a negative way is not going to improve it, but, before simply thanking what has not been lost, we are going to validate what is.
For example: the house was flooded after a storm and everything was damaged.
I do not think it is healthy or logical to simply sit down with our children and give thanks because “we are alive”, “because the walls did not fall down”, “because there are people who are dying of hunger in the world”.
That would be a kind of skipping steps and covering the sun with a finger, which would make gratitude a form of escape.
I propose that gratitude in difficult times arise naturally and not imposed.
First, recognizing the tragedy, the loss, the difficulty and validating that it hurts, that it is real, that we would have preferred it not to happen,
Then, invite our children to reflect on what we do keep, what we do have on hand, and what we can do.
And, since gratitude is organically linked to service, a cycle is generated that unites, supports, nurtures and sustains human relationships.