10 ways you and your kids can be more grateful…

Welcome Mom-Monday!  I’m glad you are here! 

I have a busy week with writing deadlines so I thought I’d combine two posts I’ve put up before about being grateful, and make a couple of quick lists we can all benefit from.

I’ve found that when I look at life through a lens of thankfulness, somehow, all the stress that comes with parenting seems to fade. (Studies have even shown that being thankful helps reduce stress hormones. What mom doesn’t need that?!)

So here’s a few tips that will help a little thanks go a long way…

5 ways to become a more grateful mom:

1. Voice your thanks. I love the quote, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” ~G.B. Stern. Don’t assume the people in your life know you are thankful for them. Tell your kids, tell your husband, tell your friends. In thanking, you will feel more thankful.

2. Quiet the negative. Try not to complain. When you stop talking about the things you’re unhappy about, or the things you feel are lacking in your life, you stop thinking about them as much too. And suddenly, your focus shifts to the positive.

3. Turn frustration into gratitude opportunities. When you look at the mess of toys all over the house, take a minute to be thankful that your kids are healthy and can play. When you look at the sink full of dishes, stop and be grateful for the food your family has to eat. Often, being grateful is just a matter of refocusing.

4. Start a gratitude journal. After you get in the habit of writing down the things you are thankful for, you’ll be surprised at how naturally this will come, and how your focus will change. (I recently started a gratitude journal after reading Ann Voskamp’s beautiful book, One Thousand Gifts. The more I think about all I have to be thankful for, the more I think about all I have to be thankful for! It’s a humbling exercise and a beautiful way to capture life.)

5.Empty, so you can fill. Take time to de-stress, work through issues, resolve difficult relationships, pray, and heal past hurts. It can be hard to be grateful if you are harboring pain, anger, guilt, or things like that. Gratefulness is a heart issue and if your heart is hurting, it can make feeling thankful really hard.

It also helps to remember we are not alone as moms. Even in bad times, remembering that others are going through what we are going through, helps. Sometimes, asking for help or connecting with others who are going through a similar situation is just the thing we need to give us enough encouragement to be able to feel hopeful and thankful again. :)

5 ways to raise more grateful kids:

1. Model thankfulness. When the server at the restaurant does a great job, write a thank you note on the receipt and let your kids see you doing it. Ask to see the manager and thank them for the excellent service. When you go out of your way to show thankfulness, your kids learn just by watching.

2. Thank your kids. Get a whiteboard and write notes of thanks to them. Notes like, “Thank you for making your bed so nicely,” or, “Thank you for clearing your plate and loading it in the dishwasher. That was very responsible.” Words of thanks are always words of encouragement. (And a motivation to do the right thing next time!)

3. Have your kids work for their privileges rather than just giving them what they want. If your son wants to download a new song on iTunes, have him earn the money to do it first. Or if your daughter wants a new toy, set a goal for her to reach before you buy it for her (i.e. make your bed every day without being asked, or something similar). Your kids will appreciate things more if they have to wait for them, or work for them.

4. Teach your kids to serve others. Take them on volunteer projects with you. Have them sign up for a regular volunteer role at church. Help them clean out their toys to donate to children who don’t have any. Teach your kids to go out of their way for others, like pulling the neighbors weeds or bringing the newspaper off the driveway when they walk up to a friend’s house. The more they serve and give, the more thankful they will be.

5. Test it out. Try this exercise: Take a timer and set it for three minutes. Then tell your kids they can complain for three minutes solid. Tell them to focus on the negative and all the things they aren’t happy with. Then reset the time and do the opposite. Have them talk about ALL they are thankful for, and all that is good in their lives. Encourage them and share your own thankful list too. After the three minutes is up, talk about it: How did it feel to focus on the negative, and then how did it feel to focus on the positive and being thankful? (There really is science behind an attitude of gratitude; it does feel better when you are thankful!)

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