Over the next 5 weeks we’re sharing simple ways to boost wellbeing in children. We hope parents, grandparents, carers, teachers – and anyone else who cares for children and young people – will find them useful.
It can be easy to feel other people’s lives are better than our own, especially when we’re bombarded with perfect images on social media. We can get stuck thinking others are more beautiful, have more money and fun, or simply ‘have more’. And children are just as susceptible as adults to this comparison trap. So how can we help them (and ourselves)?
One idea is to bring attention to what’s working well in your/their life by developing gratitude skills. Here are three ways to do this:
1) Start a gratitude jar
Get children into the habit of writing a short gratitude note when things have gone well, and putting it into a gratitude jar. You can encourage them by modelling the behaviour and doing it yourself (it may boost your mood too!). To help get you started, there’s a 40 second video on the Think Avellana blog.
2) Write a gratitude journal
Older children may prefer to keep a gratitude journal, noting down the things they appreciate and the things that went well for them each day. It can include the positive moments they witnessed too – perhaps good things that happened to their friends that they want to celebrate and give thanks for.
3) Have a gratitude conversation
Find a time each day to chat about gratitude. Some parents like to do this before their child goes to sleep, prompting them to talk about what’s gone well that day. Some teachers build the chat into the end-of-school routine, by asking questions like ‘Tell me about someone who’s been kind to you today” or “Tell me about something you feel really thankful for today”.
Building gratitude habits doesn’t mean we diminish, or lack a response to, the struggles and difficult moments that children experience. These moments are really important to talk about too. But, having a time in the day when you focus on the positive can be useful in helping children to keep their thoughts balanced.
If you have a gratitude habit that works for your child, please do share it with us.
And in case you missed the first blog in the series, we talked about ways to help your children be themselves.
Next Monday, you’ll find even more ways to help your child build their wellbeing.