LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — I love the holiday season for a variety of reasons. One of them is helping make the season magical for my kids and seeing them smile, laugh and get excited about seeing gifts under the tree.
But with my 6-and-4-year-olds–for them right now, it’s all about the presents–which I do not like. I recently came across some information from the Institute of Child Psychology that I wanted to pass along, in case you find yourself in the same boat.
It’s all about cultivating gratitude in children: helping them to be fulfilled and content with the little things in life. The experts at the Institute say there are so many benefits when it comes to having gratitude, physically and psychologically.
Gratitude increases empathy, self-esteem and the bonding hormone, oxytocin. It increases a sense of control in their lives, and overall satisfaction. It also decreases aggression and the stress hormone, cortisol.
There are ways to help retrain your brain and enjoy life more. Experts recommend:
- Slowing down.
- If you’re stressed, move your body.
- Actively look for positive moments, and when something good happens, write it down; talk to someone about it; or use your body to express those positive, joyous feelings.
- Reframe challenging experiences. You can say to yourself: “That was difficult, but I learned a lot. And I’m stronger than I realized.”
As we know, our children are always watching and listening, so we need to lead by example. Here are six ideas for how to cultivate gratitude in your children, from The Institute of Child Psychology:
- At meal times, talk about what each member of the family is grateful for.
- Give back to your community and look for volunteer opportunities.
- Each time something wonderful happens, write about it in a “gratitude journal.”
- Create a “gratitude wall”–use “Post-Its” or chalkboard paint.
- Create a “gratitude tree”–Each time you experience something positive, write it on a leaf and add it to the tree.
- Carry a “gratitude rock” in your pocket; each time you touch it, remind yourself to practice gratitude.