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Teaching our children the gift of gratitude

As the excitement of the holidays begins to deflate and we slowly get back to our regularly scheduled program of everyday life, we may lose the feelings we had during the magical times near Christmas and New Year celebrations. We may find it difficult to remember all the things we could be grateful for.

2018 brings the idea of a “new year, new you” and entices us with thoughts of new years resolutions and setting goals for the next 12 months. We at Little Feet Nanny Services would like to challenge you to a gratefulness challenge. How many ways can you celebrate gratitude this year? This season? This month? This week?

January’s blog will focus on teaching kids the gift of gratitude and being grateful.

A grateful spirit may allow us to be more aware of what others do for us and in return, inspire us to help others. As you read on, we will share some ways you and your family can practice gratitude.

-Make it a part of the family routine

Teach intentional thankfulness by using words aloud to thank others. This can range from kids to parents, siblings to siblings, parents to parents and even thanking pets. A small saying that may help with this is; “This is how we live, this is who we are.”

-The activity we share in this section will help your children practice having a positive attitude and fortitude

The difference between these two is that we must SEE the GOOD to have a positive attitude and we posses the ability to OVERCOME ADVERSITY and DISAPPOINTMENT with fortitude. A fun, and simple game you can play with you family is “highs and lows”. Each day you ask what the high was (something so excellent and grand) and a low (something that didn’t go as planned or was upsetting). Starting with the low and ending on the high is a nice way to remain positive.

- Thankfulness is a practice

By practicing being thankful, we learn to be thankful. Even little things can be a positive. My yoga instructor often reminds us that dirty dishes can be thanked because that means we had food to eat, dirty laundry is a positive because we have the means to clothes and to clean them, a car payment or utility bill because we have transportation and a warm home. Thinking outside the box and seeing even the smallest of things as something to be thankful for is an incredible practice to begin, no matter how old.

- Another way to practice gratitude is to write it out

If your children are learning letters or handwriting this is a two-in-one practice! Write little notes to each other thanking them for something they recently helped with. (ex. “Thank you, brother for helping me fold my clothes last night.” “Dad, I am excited for baseball tonight because you taught me a new way to throw the ball. Thank you for taking time to teach me.” “Mom, breakfast was yummy yesterday. Thank you for cooking!”

- And last, but not least, show gratitude to others by giving back

Choose a way for your family to show their thanks to your community. A couple ideas are: clothes donations, volunteer time with an organization, cook a meal for someone that may need it or leave thank you notes to your mailmen, sanitation workers, servicemen and teachers.

By teaching our children gratitude, we are reminded what we are thankful for and help perpetuate and grow a feeling of love. So this new year, we encourage you to seek out the grateful moments, the small things you are thankful for and to share this gratitude with your loved ones.

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