By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
For the month of November, I wanted to share a few different ideas for how families could add gratitude practices to their families. Since “Thanksgiving” can be easily rebranded into a day of gratitude, I figured a month of gratitude might be even better. Especially for our kids, who we feel might struggle to identify things they are grateful for.
What is a gratitude practice anyway? A gratitude practice really just means setting aside a bit of time each day, week, month, etc., to contemplate things in your life that you are grateful for. My favorite way to practice gratitude is by setting aside time at the end of the day to think of at least ten things that I feel grateful for in my life. This could be things like our home or the health of our family. It also could be as simple as a beautiful day. Or bigger things, such as my ability to work doing something I truly enjoy and believe makes the world a better place. It could even be targeted towards something you are struggling with - such as a relationship or situation and trying to reconsider it from a more appreciative perspective.
With kids, it can be fun to have this daily practice as well. Sometimes that can be a conversation after story time and before bed (when kids really love to open up!). Or it could be a family discussion at the dinner table where everyone participates. A favorite idea of mine is to write the things we are grateful for on slips of paper and put them in a glass jar to read at a later date.
When setting your child up to do this, it is important to try and phrase the exercise in a way that does not leave them feeling that they are ungrateful or entitled simply because they might struggle with this. I try to follow the below steps:
As mentioned before, this could be something you do every day, weekly, or just on Thanksgiving. We often hear from parents that their kids are “entitled” or “ungrateful” and I truly believe that is because we do not always take the time to teach them to notice the things that are going well. If we take a bit of time now, I am hopeful that we can help to shift our kids’ perspectives so that they do notice the good things in their lives more often!
If you are interested in learning more about connecting with your child please make sure to sign up for our newsletter! Dr. Wollerman has launched mini parenting courses! You do not want to miss it!
At Thrive, we take a positive, client-centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy we offer in person and telehealth via video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
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