Studies show that one of the greatest predictors of happiness is gratitude, and this has been shown in children as young as 5 years old. When we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t, we are more likely to feel positive emotions. That’s why it’s incredibly important to begin teaching this value at a young age.
How do you teach a 1 year old this concept?
It may be helpful to note that telling your child to be grateful or telling them to say ‘thank you’ is definitely not enough. Instead, children as young as 1 learn gratitude through observing and modelling.
1. Recognizing things you should be grateful for
The first step is to realize that there are so many things to be grateful for! As parents, you can talk to your child about the things you are grateful for.
2. Talk about how these things make you feel
For example, if you’ve received a gift from a friend, besides saying that you are grateful, you can also say how it makes you feel. You might feel surprised, happy, touched, and so on.
3. Expressing gratitude
There are many ways to express gratitude and saying ‘thank you’ is one of them. You can also express gratitude by doing something kind for someone or by giving them a gift. This is particularly important when you want to express gratitude to your child.
4. Make it a habit
You can incorporate simple gratitude exercises into your child’s daily routine, such as naming one thing they are grateful for that happened today. You can also share your gratitude with your child.
Remember that grateful parents raise grateful children, which in turn leads to increased happiness, and who doesn’t want to be happy?