by Nabanita Dutt
Teach Children To Live With An Attitude Of Gratitude With The Heart-Love Pillow
Teaching our kids to say “thank you” is important – but living with an “attitude of gratitude” empowers them in significant, heart-brain connected ways that help them evolve as balanced and compassionate human beings.
An “attitude of gratitude” is not a lip service that is verbalized when social situations demand it. It is a state of mind that is aware of every small blessing and joy in our lives, and it can be instilled in children from a very young age through a simple practice of thankfulness.
Benefits Of An Attitude Of Gratitude
In a study conducted by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, it was revealed that cultivating gratitude can increase happiness levels in children by as much as 25 percent.
Other studies have shown that kids who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school, teachers, peers and family.
Gratitude grants perspective. Today’s children live extremely privileged lives with toys, electronic gadgets, televisions etc. at their disposal. Parents consider these privileges to be necessities in many situations, but the fallout of having a lot of everything is cynicism, boredom and a sense of entitlement that sets in from an early age. The small blessings and the little joys that need to be counted and valued – because happiness isn’t predicated on the acquisition of the latest electronic device – can only happen if children are taught to be aware of them through a practice of gratitude.
How To Practice An Attitude Of Gratitude
Step # 1:
• Right before bedtime, discuss the day’s events with your child and encourage him/her to remember some happy moment that calls for a feeling of thankfulness.
Discuss this event – no matter how small – with deep interest, so the child too notices the intrinsic value of it. If the child cannot come up with anything, help him/her find a moment in the day – maybe the sight of new blossoms in the backyard or a favorite treat for dinner or a phone call from grandmother – that was worth noticing and celebrating.
Step # 2:
• Help the child write down what he/she had to be thankful for that day, and pin it to the Heart Love Pillow.
Step # 3:
• Let the child go to sleep with the belief that the Heart Love Pillow will preserve the moment of gratitude all through the night, and bring more such happy moments the next day.
You can initiate this practice with one thing to be grateful for or do three or five, depending on the child. This daily practice of focusing on a feel-good moment and opening the heart to recognize it, breeds a mindset that is always looking for more such moments to put on the Heart Love Pillow.
Within 4-6 weeks of practicing this, you will notice a happier, more patient child – and a loving and compassionate adult-in-the-making!