I'm so glad you are here! I've really been enjoying Kristen Welch's new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.
I love how real it is, and I am so appreciative of all the ideas she shares on cultivating gratitude within the home.
Today, I'd like to share with you some ideas I'm using within my own home and family to increase the level of gratitude in our family members. Most of these are so simple and require little to no extra supplies and very little time. What they require, is just a little extra thought.
#1 Model gratitude for your family.
When you are out shopping or running errands, thank the people who are serving you. Stuck in traffic? Thank the passengers in the car for their patience or thank the car for not breaking down/running out of gas, etc. Thank the crossing guards who get you and your kids safely to school. Thank the teachers in your life. Thank your children. Thank your spouse. Thank God. Show people that you appreciate them, and the others around you will notice and may follow suit.
Do it every day.
#2 Ask yourself these three questions everyday:
Who or what do I appreciate today?
What or who has made me happy today?
How was God good today?
I took these questions right from the Gratitude Bracelet below (you can get one here). You don't need a bracelet to ask yourself these questions, but I wear mine to reinforce this new habit. I have also started asking my kids these questions. Not only does it help them to express gratitude, but I also get to find out a whole lot about their day. :)
#3 Teach children about money and spending.
There is a lot of debate on what is the best way for kids to get/earn money: Allowance that they have to earn by doing specific chores, allowance or salary that they are given regardless, but have an expectation to participate in family chores, or maybe another option.
This is something that we are still figuring out what works for us. Our kids now range in age from 6 to 14. The oldest is very self-motivated when it comes to working and earning. She spent the better part of a year earning half the tuition to go on a school service trip to the Dominican Republic. Even after the trip, she is happy to take on extra jobs outside the home to earn money for things that she wants.The middle child, not so much. He likes to spend, but doesn't yet want to put much effort towards earning. When we talk about money with him, we relate the cost of an item with that of Lego sets. This is something he has previously saved for, and LOVES, so he can relate to this. For example... Recently, he wanted to purchase something sweet and consumable that cost around $5. I reminded him that he would be using most of the money he currently had, and he could purchase a small Lego set instead for around the same price. This gave him some pause as he considered that. I was proud when he opted to not make the purchase (he didn't get Legos either, but held onto his money). Our youngest still doesn't quite understand monetary values of things, which is fairly normal, but she certainly pays attention when we shop. I have starting using cash when we shop, which allows them to see what groceries actually cost, rather than the swipe of plastic that has no meaning to them.
Giving kids an allowance/salary/earnings of some sort, can teach them amazing responsibility and gratitude. It helps them understand about wants (toys, games, etc.) and needs (food, clothing, shelter), and can give them a financial insight to what is provided to them.
I could go on for several posts about this subject (and will probably do at least one), but Kristen has a great chapter on this in the book with a multitude of suggestions.
#4 Global Perspective.
Okay, this is one that, to get a real hands-on experience, could cost a good amount of time and money, but will make a lasting and worthwhile impression.
We have not had a lot of experience with this, but the little we've had was worth it! It is so important to see how other families live and what other communities are like in other parts of the world. This helps put a new perspective in our lives and can help us appreciate all that we have.
When our oldest got home last Spring from her trip to the Dominican Republic, the thing she was most excited about was our bathroom. The fact that it was in our house, the toilet flushed, and had hot water to wash her hands with afterwards, were all things she didn't have regular access to while she was there. She now carries the experiences of this trip with her everywhere, and she has the opportunity to see things differently, and with gratitude because of it.
And, last, but most certainly not least:
#5 Service to Others
I cannot emphasize how important giving back to others is.
I grew up in a home where you volunteered and you did things to help others because it was the right thing to do. Because of this, I now have a home where you volunteer and you help others.
It feels good to help others. People feel good when they have been helped. It's a happy circle!
How do we give back? There are many ways, but here are a few to try:
*Volunteer at school. There is always something to do and kids can see if their teacher needs help after-school (wiping desks, etc.)
*Taking trash cans in for a neighbor on garbage day after collection.
*Picking up litter in the neighborhood.
*Making toys for shelter dogs out of old towels.
*Baking cookies for the local firefighters.
*Buying and donating food to our local food shelter.
*Rake the leaves out of neighborhood storm drains.
*Hold the door for someone.
*Take a grocery cart back for someone.
Click this link to my Pinterest board for more ideas on cultivating gratitude as inspired by the book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.
Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope you've found at least one idea to encourage gratitude.
Now, hop on over to one of our other co-hosts to learn more:
Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude - by Alison Rasisng Grateful Kids - by amanda Why You Can't Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store - by Andrea Missing - Gratefulness in our home - by Ange Choosing Gratitude - by Angela Gratefullness - by chaley 5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family - by Christa Practicing Grateful Parenting - by Dana Sing a Song - by Hannah Cultivating gratitude in our family - by Jamie Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana Let It Begin With Me - by Jen Choosing Gratefulness - by Jennifer Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World - The Book - by jeri Eradicating Entitlement - What are you rooted in? - by Jessica Gratefulness in our home - by Kate The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us - by Katelyn 7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful - by Kathryn Raising Grateful Kids - by Keri How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude - by Kishona Grateful - by Kristy Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie - by Leigha The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids - by Lindsey Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? - by Marie Osborne Gratitude, A Practical Definition - by Mia Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home - by Nancy Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness - by Rachel Being Grateful - by Rebecca I've Found Something I Can't Live Without - by Sarah The Power of Naming our Gifts - by Sarah Outfitted - by Sarah Jo Growing Gratitude in our Family - by Sondra Teaching Gratefulness - by Stephanie How Grateful Looks From Here - by Alison Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us - by Leah Entitlement Problem - by Karrie Grateful Today - by Krystal