How to Keep Your Kids Practicing Gratitude Year Round

Gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving. As a parent, try and encourage your children to practice being thankful throughout all stages of their development.

As Carey Wallace writes at TIME, gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving:

"The list of the benefits of gratitude is so long 'it’s almost ridiculous,' [author Christine] Carter says. 'People who are consciously practicing gratitude sleep better, have more energy, and feel more connected to other people.' One study has even proven that kidney function improves when people practice gratitude. And the good news is that it’s contagious. “If I’m feeling strong positive emotion, and I’m sharing that with somebody,” Carter explains, 'those emotions spread person to person' through the whole family."

Naturally, gratitude and thankfulness are the sorts of values most parents would pay a large earthly sum to instil in their children. Not only is it easier to parent when your kids are gracious, these sorts of behaviors contribute positively to kids' development into well-grounded adults. That's why Wallace explains that you should encourage your children to practice holiday season levels of gratitude year round. She suggests taking varying approaches depending on age and maturity:

Elementary school: Often too young to understand gratitude on a whole, young kids can at least be put into the habit of introspectively identifying elements of their life they enjoy from day to day. 

Middle school: Encourage your pre-teens to identify abstract and intangible parts of their life for which they're appreciate, such as health and family. Wallace recommends art projects as a way to fuse creativity into this process.

High school: Expose your high schoolers to scarcity. Teach them that gratitude requires an observance of context and situation. Even when times are tough there is always something to be grateful for.

Check out Wallace's full article (linked below). It's really worth the read. Be sure to tell us what you think in the comments.

Read more at TIME

Photo credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock

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