Are you trying to raise grateful kids? Being a Mum is a job like no other. The endless list of qualifications needed to raise little humans is extreme. We tackle the job with passion, dedication and grit our teeth as we ride the wave of motherhood.
Some days you feel as if you are getting it right, others not so much.
Lately, in my house we have been discussing how to be more grateful, well actually we have been discussing how to get our little humans to be more grateful. Grateful for their amazing world and all the privileges that come with it.
My kids are fabulous. They have mastered the essentials. Making their beds, brushing their teeth, packing their school bags, all the necessary age-appropriate tasks and they are consistent in keeping Mum and Dad happy. They’re thrilled to give out all the please and thank you’s expected of them and enjoy life every day. But there is a new level of maturity needed now they are getting older and they need to develop a new skill, gratitude.
Growing up privileged is one thing, growing up entitled is another! I understand that kids aren’t going to demonstrate gratitude on a daily basis, my kids are fabulous, not perfect. My goal is to raise empathetic adults who freely flex their gratitude muscle, preferably every day.
So how do you do this?
First, we started off by unplugging! It was very, needed. The kids are unplugged from 6 pm Sunday night to 4 pm Friday afternoon. I was going to discuss this further today, but quickly realised that it’s a whole other post on its own! So this will be next week’s post, promise!
We were unplugged and going along nicely, however, gratitude wasn’t flowing as freely as we hoped. We consistently demonstrate gratitude because it’s difficult to teach. Research has shown kids who are grateful have more empathy and compassion, something all kids can use in their toolbox!
I needed to find someone that was getting it right, someone I could resonate with.
Then I found what I was looking for!
Hailey Bartholomew, a photographer, wife, mother and a whole lot more. She had it ALL, but couldn’t see it, hear it or appreciate it. She was lost in her perfect world. Most of us would envy everything she had. Trying to comprehend why she couldn’t appreciate her life she found some advice from a Nun, yep you read that right, and found herself on a journey of gratitude that will tickle your soul.
Numerous studies speak of the benefits of journaling to gain a greater sense of gratitude. They advise that it isn’t hard to develop it, you just need a little time. Hailey is a photographer and her method was much more exciting than journaling after a long day. Hailey used her Polaroid to document for an entire year what she was grateful for and from that the 365 Grateful Project was born!
This method of recording what you are grateful for made me excited. I had a way! A way I could show my kids, guide them and have them take ownership of their own feelings of gratitude.
Kids love a project and I have one. Taking Hailey’s lead I am taking the kids on a Grateful Journey all of our own. Fortunately, both the kids have their own Polaroid camera, so I don’t have to get their iPads out to undertake our project! However there is nothing wrong with this if you choose to do something similar, I just don’t want to change our ‘unplugged policy’.
I am going to get the kids to take a pic a day of something they are grateful for and put it on a large piece of cardboard. One pic, one real moment of thankfulness and appreciation.
Anticipating the first few weeks to be fun and easy to motivate them I have developed a few questions to get them thinking when they are finding it harder:
What family member made you smile today?
What surprised you today?
What was something that you touched and enjoyed it? (I expect my daughter’s teddy bear to feature heavily here)
What was your favourite time of day?
Finish these sentences:
Today I am proud of….
Today I had fun when…
Today I enjoyed…
Today I laughed when….
Just enough to get them thinking about the positive aspects of their world.
Why not try and create your own project to strengthen your sense of gratitude!
GRATITUDE IDEAS FOR YOU
- Develop a Pinterest Board – Take one pic a day on your phone of something you are grateful for and pin it. You will quickly have a magnificent board full of everything you are grateful for. When you are not feeling it, take a moment and look through your board, it will change your mindset and perspective for the better.
- Take a pic a day and use it as your locked screen on your phone for the whole day. Change it every night before you go to bed. You will have a reminder all day of something that you can be grateful for, you can look at it when you need it. However, I guarantee it will have the most impact when you unexpectedly see it there, ready and waiting to surprise you when you reach for your phone.
- Post a pic a day on your Instagram page and use a separate # for these images i.e #gratefulhippie or whatever you’re fancy!
One important element I have discovered through this process is the importance of teaching the kids the necessary language of being grateful. It’s a mature language, they have seen and dipped their toe in, but now I am determined they become confidently fluent.
Life is amazing and every day is an opportunity to find something we can be grateful for and I am looking forward to going on this journey with my amazing little humans.
Going to try a Gratitude Project? If so please share, pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Know someone that needs to read this? Please share it and spread the love!
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