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Gratitude is the special sauce in life

Happy, successful people consistently have one thing in common.  They are grateful.  They actively search for silver linings and their glasses are always half full.  Getting in the habit of being grateful is easily one of the most important practices you can teach your children.  Did you know that just searching for something to be grateful for in a bad situation can help you feel better?  It really can!  Try it next time things aren’t going so well.

Every year in November, families across the US sit down for a large meal of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie.  This one special night a year families are giving thanks.  Our family has a tradition of each person describing what they are thankful for as we are preparing to eat our meal.  We have figured out, though, that once a year is not enough!

Much like goal setting on New Year ’s Eve, annual gratitude acknowledgement does not really create lasting results.  Instead, in our house we have created ways to incorporate being grateful into our daily routine. We believe that it is super important for our kids to see the good in every situation.  Your child has a much better day when he is happy about his homeschooling experience—instead of focusing on everything he is unhappy with. 

It’s easy to add a daily dose of gratitude and optimism into your child’s life.  Here are a few ideas that I’ve used over the years

·      Have a grateful moment at each meal

·      When things are on the edge between being good or bad, ask: “What is great about this?” and let them answer with at least 3 ideas.

·      Have each member of the family be the “star of the day” and have each family member tell or write down things they are grateful for about that person. 

·      Get everyone to give out 3 compliments a day and report on them at the dinner table.  That will quickly shift the kids from seeing what they don’t like to what they do!

·      Start gratitude journals for each person in the family and add it into your curriculum.  We have a free journal download for you HERE.

One great way to take this deeper and make it more meaningful is to focus on 5 things you are grateful for about one person, event, etc. instead of finding 5 different things to be grateful for.  I have seen kids brought to tears by the 4th or 5th concept because it urges them to dig deeper.  Give it a try!

Gratitude is the special sauce in life.  Creating ways to make this an easy for your kids in their everyday life is setting them for a life that is happy and successful.