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Teaching Your Little One's Gratitude

If you live in the United States, then you're aware Thanksgiving is approaching. The day we have designated to be grateful for the time we have been given, the family & friends in our lives, and all the little things we may have that make our lives just a little better. In regards to the Wheel of the Year, Thanksgiving is closely related to Mabon, which is considered the witches Thanksgiving. Either way, gratitude and the expression of it is an important magical practice for a variety of reasons.

Now teaching the little ones gratitude has to be one of the more challenging parts of parenting. Not only is bringing gratitude a really abstract concept for young children to understand, little ones are self-centered by nature ( in an unaware kind of way, of course).

But this is one of the most important things you can teach your children- practicing gratitude sets kids up to be more sensitive & empathetic to the world around them as well as giving them the tools to shield themselves. Two sides of the same coin if you know what I mean....

Babies as young as 18 months can begin to understand that they are being taken care of by others & that others do things to make them happy- a foundational concept for learning appreciation. By 2 years of age, toddlers can start to articulate things they are grateful for, like Mommy & Daddy or their favorite toy or pets. And by age 4, little brains can start to understand that gratitude can encompass not only things and people but also acts of kindness and love.

Though understanding how to be grateful is a lifelong learning process, there are many ways to begin to instill those qualities in your children in a gentle and relatable way. These simple activities will help you begin the conversation with your kids, and the consistency of those conversations will plant the seeds to grow a truly grateful and happy child.

Model gratitude out loud

Yes, I know this seems to be an obvious one. But it's one that we all slack on. So much of what we think or feel stays within us, mostly for the better (hello, frustration) but not always. Our littles learn the most by what we say and do & they learn just as much from what we don't say or do. If you've not actively practiced outward appreciation and gratitude in a way that is accessible, there's a good chance it will be missed and harder for your children to learn.

Practicing this is not at all complicated. Simply take time to pause in small moments and say out loud what comes to your heart and head. It can be something small like, “Wow, these trees with changing leaves are just beautiful. Nature is just so stunning, and I love sharing these moments with you.” It doesn’t take much—saying these things out loud will make it easier for your children to understand gratitude and learn just what to be thankful for.

Here is a simple little spell jar you can do with your kids.

Shake Up Your Gratitude

• Small jar {like a baby food jar}

• Dry corn kernels {like un-popped popcorn}

• Image/Magical Symbol for jar top

• Glue

The idea behind this is to count your blessings. When you count your blessings and acknowledge them in a tangible way you can use them to help manifest more blessings, abundance, and gratitude.

From time to time you might want to add more blessings of gratitude to your jar. When you do that, be sure to blow into the jar to add your energy to it before you seal it closed. Over time you should intentionally have your jar become too full so that you have to start using a larger jar. When that happens simply add everything from this jar into your new larger jar. This will show you over time just how much you have to be grateful for in your life.

So this holiday season, how are you planning to express your gratitude? Do you already have a daily gratitude practice? Share in the comments below.

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