Sunday, June 5, 2011

Raising Appreciative Children

The school year has ended here.  Students have packed up their books and belongings, attended the Moving Up ceremony, and have already begun Summer Vacation.  I have taken time to reflect on the experiences we shared in the classroom this year.  As you know I teach children in grades 1 - 3.  I thought about how each and every child who was in my class hugged me goodbye for the year and said "Thank you."

Appreciating each other and being grateful is something that we work on in class.  We practice our manners along with math, grammar, cultural studies, reading, and science.  Each week the students write a thank you note to someone who has helped our class or done something special.

I had an idea that I wanted to share with those of you who read this blog.  This can be done with children of all ages.  I have to say that Oprah Winfrey is the inspiration for this idea.  As I watched her last few shows, I was impressed by the gratitude that she felt and that was expressed to her by others.

Children thrive on routine, tradition, and rituals.  Why not make it a tradition in your home to have everyone take a few moments at the same time to write in a gratitude journal and share it with the family.  Children who are too young to write can draw pictures and dictate their thoughts to a parent or older sibling.  Children like to emulate their parents so set an example by writing in your own journal.

One of the important aspects of this is to share what you are grateful for with the members of your family.  Young children may say the same thing every day, and that's okay, but as you share the things you choose they will expand their horizons and include many different people, experiences, and gifts.

When it is your turn as the parent to share your thoughts, I suggest that you regularly end with a thought that includes the child or children.  You may choose to say something like, I am grateful for the love I have for you, (child's name),  Look right into their eyes, hold their hand and connect with each child individually.

Our lives are so busy, sometimes we forget to be grateful for the people we love the most.  Of course you feel it all the time, but we often need a reminder to express our feelings.  Make this a tradition in your family, you will be glad you did~

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