We live in a digitalized, distracted, fast-paced society filled with distractions and lack of time. All of this impacts how we parent. Parenting is an experience which mandates mindfulness. Ultimately it is up to us to create time to dial down on all technology and "be".
As parents, often we are invested in making schedules for our kids, signing them up for another activity, sleepover, getting one or more special things for their birthday or holiday, running them around to the events along with balancing other work/home demands. At some point, we start to function on auto-pilot which disengages us from living in the moment.
The truth is - value and meaning of life comes from the moments we are fully present and engaged with our loved ones. No distractions. Just us.
Let's begin by emphasizing why gratitude matters in the first place.
Quoting us from our last blog: "Gratitude is an emotion which has been positively linked to human well-being. The studies have shown gratitude helps decrease anxiety, depression, improves sleep, builds empathy and helps with the overall school performance." And one may concur gratitude is vital to the health of the family.
I view the school age is the "fertile" period to plant the seeds of gratitude. By this age, cognitive and emotional skills have matured for children to begin to understand the world around them.
You certainly can build on the ideas we suggested in the previous blog such as storytelling, reading books with a focus on gratitude, filling up gratitude jar and sharing simple acts of kindness.
Here we share a few more tips on what you may consider doing during this age:
1. Ask your child what was the best and "not so good part of the day?"
While it is essential to focus on the positive, getting the insight on "not so good" interpretation will be an opportunity to talk to your child about the learning lessons from the challenging experiences.
3. School age is perfect for introducing the concept of writing "thank you notes" for gifts or kindness acts received. Handwriting at this time is turning into the lost art, however being able to express and write a gratitude note is invaluable and should be encouraged. The research has also shown gratitude when expressed in writing
4. Gratitude Journal. Benefits of journaling have been well documented in many research studies. To list a few - it enhances emotional intelligence, evokes mindfulness, boosts your mood, helps reduce depression.