Building A Family Culture of Gratitude

Parenting Grateful Children Parent Coaching Family Therapy

Parenting Tips to Change Whining & Begging to Acceptance & Appreciation

Parenting Grateful Children Parent Coaching Family Therapy
Boy Finding Gratitude in Simplicity – Source: Unsplash

Reverse the Discontent. Materialism can become  a monster of the holiday season and with the intensification of marketing our children are especially vulnerable to the “Gimmies” (phrase by Stan Bernstein).  We know the truth: Dalai Lama states: “When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘ Oh yes – I already have everything I really need”. The Thanksgiving holidays has just passed when the talk and buzz about counting blessings were trending but how do we translate that season of mindfulness about being appreciative into our everyday lives for the very young to the mature in our families.   To change the culture of our families we must take action, small consistent actions that are embedded into our family life. Read on and get access to practical, easy  activities and printable resources you can implement today to have contented kids and a happier home.

A Personal Story Of Dealing With Discontented Children

Last week I went into a popular clothing store with my two kids aged 12 (son, N)  and 7 (daughter ,A) to buy my daughter the costume for her #Christmas #play performance. I set the stage from in the car, we are only going in for 15 minutes, and I am only buying the one item today. “But mom, you are always buying nice clothes for A, the clothes you buy for me is crappy”, said my son out loud as he opens the door for us and another customer to enter the store. While in the section looking for the intended item, N comes over with a hoodie, “Can I get this?”. “Why won’t you buy me anything?”  Two minutes latter, “What about this one, I can wear it to school”. “I need a new sweater”. “You only buy nice clothes for yourself”. These rants went on and on until I cashed out and went back to the car, where I responded to him. Let’s go back and give you a perspective. The week prior I bought N a new pair of brand names sneakers while I was browsing a store by myself. The sweater hoodie he lives in and  was wearing on his back during this rant, was bought by moi.

The repetition of this kind of interaction is hurtful. It is one thing when they ask for an item. But when my child starts making critical statements about my character it stings. I am not neglectful, I am not insensitive, I am not discriminating. I give the best I can to both my kids, like most of us do, but memory is very selective (grunt).

  • “Why can’t they just be appreciative?”
  • “Why can’t they play with the toys they have asked for previously and now discard in a corner in their room?
  • “Why can’t they see that their closets are enough?”

  If you have had similar experiences and (internal) reactions, read on.    

Yearlong Activities For Moms and Dads To Foster More Thankfulness

1 Make or buy and send personalised thank you cards.

Develop a practise that whenever someone receives a gift or a kind gesture to encourage individuals to express appreciation via writing a personalized card. The cards may be DIY or purchased, it your choice.

2: Read books out loud  together about characters who demonstrate gratitude. Below in the Resources you will find some links to books for toddlers to middle schoolers.

3 Journalling. Depending on the age of your children each person may hold an individual journal or hold a big collective journal. A half blank and half lined exercise book is a simple adaptation of a journal for 3-6 year olds where they draw pictures and dictate their words. Below in the Resources you’ll find a #printable 12 Week Calendar of Prompts.

4 Blessing Scrap Book  memorialize great events in a scrapbook. Store pictures, ticket stubs, certificates, report cards, etc.

5 Family Community Service. At the time of the year where the focus shifts to consumerism your child and teen can get caught in the “mommy I want”. Mommy please buy me…” This is the time to engage in a family in volunteering in your local community. Spend an afternoon at the food bank distributing food to the many families who use the service. Visit a shelter. It you do like going out and doing something, do a project at home and deliver or bring a charity or non-profit of  your choice. Create a hamper for donation with all family members making or buying a select items for inclusion.  

6 Icorporate Social Media- Share #Thankful Thursdays. If you have teenagers, set one designated Thursday per month as family Thankful Thursday. Share on your social media your appreciation publicly, tag each other, if they will permit that.

For younger kids you adapt other ways to do #TT. You can select books to read together or out loud  the promote the value of gratitude. Discuss how you can be inspired by the stories.

Below are some suggestions of books. (You can purchase direct from Amazon by clicking on link)

7.Grab bag of Appreciation

For family dinners and parties with friends collect names of attending guests in a party bag. If your kids are crafty or artistic they may enjoy designing & making name cards for the bag. When guests arrive they select a name. On the card allow space for guest to think  ahead and make notes  of responses regarding the identified person  After dinner or at a later designated time everyone takes turn sharing an appreciated sentiment about the named person.

 Suggestions include

A happy memory I have about …..

….. is very good at  …..

… is helpful to others by ….

A universal mission  of all parents is to raise happy healthy children  For gratitude to have it’s full effects on optimising happiness  it must be habitual. The habit of gratitude is a protective factor  for many adverse circumstances that could crash into your the lives  of your children and family. It’s starts with your leadership. Make a commitment today to at least one action, discuss it this weekend, start next week.

MORE RESOURCES FOR YOUR FAMILY’S TRANSFORMATION

DOWNLOAD Printable Calendar(pdf) – 12 weeks of Gratitude Conversation Starters & Journalling Prompts

4 Apps for Grateful Meditations My Counselling Clients Appreciate

  • Bliss
  • Insight Timer
  • Unique Daily Affirmations
  • Gratefulness

Read Aloud Books

Books For Toddlers & Preschoolers to Learn to Give Thanks

The Thankful Book – Todd Parr

Picture Book Resource About Thankfulness

Hardcover Kindle

Books for School Aged Kids to be Mindful to Count Their Blessings

Maddi’s Fridge –

School Age Kids Book about gratitude

Hardcover Kindle

Those Shoes –

School Age Books about Gratitude

Paperback Kindle

Books for Junior High Tweens to Promote Positivity

Out of My Mind

Book about Appreciation for Middle School Aged Teens

Crenshaw

Novel about being appreciative faith for youth counselling

Theme Song – Attitude of Gratitude

Video – 3 Keys to Unlocking Gratitude – Ted X Talk – Jane Random (20 min)

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Published by Help For Families Canada

Help for Families Canada is a counselling and consulting organisation serving Edmonton, locally, and families, globally. We specialise in offering child and family therapy for kids and parents via play therapy interventions.

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