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Studies suggest a relationship between gratitude and improved mental wellbeing in children. The premise of this is that having gratitude allows children to form and maintain stronger relationships while feeling connected to a community. Well now that you have the research, you may be asking how you can do this.
We have worked alongside an independent girls prep school to share ways that you can explore gratitude with your child.
Focus Less on the Materialistic
Teaching your child to focus on intrinsic goals as opposed to those that are extrinsic will help your child to be more grateful. There is also research to suggest that those that focus on materialistic things such as money, wealth, status and image develop less fulfilling relationships. To explore gratitude with your child, make it a priority to focus on small acts of kindness, effort and time.
Be a Role Model
Children instinctively try to imitate the role models in their lives, i.e., their parents. Start by displaying a thankful attitude and sharing how acts of kindness make you feel out loud. For example, if your partner helps with the washing, you might want to say, “thank you, that was so nice of you to spend your time helping me out”.
This is a way for your child to see the importance of being kind and the appreciation that comes along with it. Slowly your child will begin to understand what acts of kindness look like and the effect showing appreciation can have.
Refrain from Complaining
Similarly, you want to avoid complaining in front of your children. This can be hard, especially if you have had a tough day but remember that your attitude will also rub off on your children.
End of Term Thank You Cards
At the end of term or the end of the school year, make it a habit to write out thank you cards with your child for all of their teachers. This will help your child to reflect on the kindness they have received, especially teachers whose efforts tend to be overlooked.
Kindness and gratitude go hand in hand. By your child showing kindness in a way that they would want to be treated, will help them feel connected to those around them. This will help to foster stronger relationships and understand the importance of being compassionate to others by receiving appreciation in return.
An activity to put this into practice could be to donate unwanted toys. Remind your child how lucky they are to have all of their nice things and encourage them to donate those that they no longer play with.
I love the WOW journal for kids who need help with wellbeing.