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Practice Gratitude This Season … And Beyond 

With the holiday season right around the corner, we’re all getting ready to gather around the table and give thanks. Gratitude comes so easily this time of year as we spend time with our families and loved ones, but it’s a practice that can benefit us and our children year around.

Countless studies in the last decade have shown that people who practice gratitude as part of their regular routine experience remarkable effects – from improved relationships with others to boosted physical health and higher happiness levels. In addition, as we look at our children’s development, adding gratitude to the to-learn list can have a significant effect.

Here are some ways to make gratitude a part of your family’s daily lives:

Focus on the good in each day. 

Before bedtime, take some time to ask your child one thing they are grateful for that day – no matter how big or small. Then, share a thought of your own while you’re at it. If you’d like to go the extra mile, you might consider collecting the thoughts in a notebook or a jar to look back on later. Studies show that practicing gratitude before bed can help improve your child’s sleep quality and promote a positive outlook.

Practice giving more thanks. 

End a movie night by telling your children that you’re grateful that you got to spend time with them. After a meal, express how thankful you are for the cook – and the food itself. Note positive things happening around you all time, which can help inspire emotional resilience in your child.

Engage in helping others in need. 

Our children can make a difference in our communities in many ways. Help them find causes they’re drawn to and provide the opportunity for them to engage in service. Participation in service activities helps children develop a sense of purpose and gain an appreciation for the world around them.

Be the person you want your children to become. 

A great way to inspire your children to be more grateful is to do it yourself! When you practice gratitude, you’re modeling how you want your children to act. So be open with them and share your gratitude perspective. The more you engage in gratitude, the more your children will too.

Keep practicing gratitude once the holiday season has ended. 

Giving thanks and engaging in gratitude doesn’t need to be saved for Thanksgiving or the holidays. So many times, being grateful can naturally flow through your family’s day-to-day lives. Make it a point to practice gratitude with your children even outside the holiday season – especially when things get complicated.

When we focus on the things that are going right, we can positively change how our children approach stressful situations, how they interact with their peers and us, and even how they physically feel. It only takes a few minutes to practice gratitude with your children, which can turn out to be some of the most impactful moments of the day.

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