Being grateful is easy to do and has amazing benefits. As homeschooling parents you can help your children bring this powerful tool into their lives. Research indicates that gratitude can heal, energize, and change lives.
It’s almost impossible to be grateful and unhappy in the same instant. Gratitude is a route to finding peace and happiness. There is so much to thank God for in this amazing world, even when things are tough. We just have to be open to recognizing the many gifts we are given throughout our day. Once you help your children to start a gratitude habit you will be amazed at how much sweeter your family’s days will become. You will all help each other to notice the positive things that happen in your life more and more.
Here are some specific things you can do to help your children cultivate a spirit of gratitude:
1. Discuss with your children the many things for which they can be grateful. You could start a gratitude habit at the beginning or end of each of your school sessions. You should participate as well, modeling gratitude. It could be that you feel gratitude for what you have, for kindnesses others have shown you, for feeling well or just having a day without too many troubles.
2.You can also complete one of the sheets shown below once a week. Older children can write more, while younger children can just illustrate their feelings. Save it as a kind of gratitude diary that you can review at the end of the school year. And when there are difficult times for your children, when it feels hard to be grateful, you can use the gratitude diary to discuss that being grateful even in tough situations is beneficial. If your children are feeling angry, or jealous, or hurt by others, guide them to press a pause button and think of something good in their lives. Is it the beautiful weather? Do they like an activity they’ve been doing? Did a friend or family member say something that made them smile? It will most certainly lift their spirits.
3. Spread the message of gratitude in your own life. Saying thank you to the other people in our lives more often makes the world a more joyful place. Your children will imitate your behavior and reap the benefits as well.
4. Encourage your children to make gratitude a part of your nightly routine… Before sleep, take a minute or two to reflect on the day asking, “Which of God’s blessings and gifts did you receive today?” Try to think of five specific things.
5. Remind children to be grateful for forgiveness and second chances. As part of your nightly prayers, ask each child if there is one thing they wish they had done differently during the day. Tell them to let God know they are sorry, and ask for God’s help to do better in the future.
Try any or all of the ideas above or come up with your own. I think you’ll agree that there are many good reasons to make gratitude a part of every day. To teach a child gratitude is to give them a gift for life.