Over the years, studies have proven that gratitude is linked to greater life satisfaction, increased social support and decreased rates of stress and depression. Gratitude allows children to create and maintain supportive relationships and feel immersed in a community.
If you have a child who struggles socially or behaviorally, or with ADHD, teaching them gratitude will help them establish relationships and obtain higher grades, studies have shown. As Thanksgiving is around the corner, now is the perfect opportunity to instill gratitude. Here's how:
Have Them Write Thank-you Notes
When your kid is given gifts or other kind gestures, have them write back a thank-you note. Many times, children who struggle with learning differences, ADHD or behavioral issues feel inadequate as it may take them longer to do day-to-day activities. Thank-you notes create an observable result, which will make your child feel good about themselves and their accomplishment.
Acknowledge Them for Gracious Behavior
Thank them for their actions that showcase gratitude, even the seemingly simple things like doing chores around the house or completing their schoolwork. It is imperative for your child to be given positive feedback and rewards for behavior that showcases gratitude, as they will further connect expressing gratitude to positive behavior. Celebrate their moments of triumph more than you scold them for their mistakes, as it will boost their self-esteem, which is important for children who have learning differences, ADHD or behavioral issues.
And, since it's the season, this Thanksgiving, acknowledge each other by having the whole family discuss for what, and whom, they are grateful.
Make Time for Positivity
Although some days may be trying, find time throughout the day to share with your child a few good, positive things about your day. Then, ask the same from them. Or, you and your child can share a journal to write down these thoughts. Studies involving gratitude journals have determined that those who used one were more positive and happier. Increased positivity will help your child feel like they can overcome any obstacle.
Be a Positive Role Model
The best way to teach gratitude is to model it for your child. Your child observes you and your behaviors, and soaks in how to act and behave from them. If you show actions of gratitude, it will teach your child to mimic them.
We asked our community on Facebook why they are grateful for their child's struggles, and we were blown away by the responses. Here are a just a few of the thankful parents who are displaying incredible shows of gratitude for their children:
I have learnt so much about how to be more tolerant and how the brain can work soooo differently. I am truly a better person. - Lisa F.
It taught me even more how powerful communication is and it's shown me how to give grace to many. - Gini B.
We all have strengths and weaknesses! - Kristan B.
Because it forced me to slow down and appreciate every victory that both of them experience. I am not sure that I would have savored them as much if they did not struggle so hard for each one. - Shanta R.
It gave me knowledge and grand faith to know, that yes there is struggle, but more importantly through my child's struggle it gave me a new sense of bravery to endure my brain issues, as I watch my child go through their's. - Rhonda S.
Patience is a virtue! - Tina C.
My knowledge & compassion have grown; through those growths I have been able to help others. - Elizabeth Y.
It has taught them to be very strong and with much wisdom. - Connie R.
Patience accomplishes more than frustration.Truly unconditional love is that of a mother to her child and a wife to her husband as my husband had a stroke and my son traumatic brain injury. - Lori B.
It's helping us not only positively reshape her mind, but the minds of others as well. - Alexis H.
My sons struggle has taught me to value each and every milestone, every moment because it is all too precious. He has also taught me to take a second and breath before jumping to conclusions about anyones life or situation. - Amanda M.
We here at Brain Balance Achievement Centers are most grateful for our students who overcome struggles on a daily basis, the families who support them, and you, our amazing community that continues to bring awareness to childhood development issues. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember to express and teach gratitude, as there are always reasons to be thankful!