And now for something completely different (and not homestead related, really)…
I am part of a home school group that has a mom’s meeting once a month. This month’s meeting theme was gratitude, and specifically, what can we do to help our children be more grateful and whine and complain less.
I made a list of what the moms in the group suggested. With the holidays coming up, I thought others would really appreciate the ideas on this list as much as I do. Please note that my home school group is Christian so there are some biblical references, etc. If that is not your thing, just skip over it to the next item on the list. I think there is good stuff on here for any family, no matter your beliefs.
- Have each family member write things they are thankful for on paper leaves, every day in November. Paste to a tree.
- Start a Gratitude journal – write in it everyday. Give your kids a journal to do the same (little kids can draw what they are thankful for).
- If your children receive lots of gifts at Christmas, have them pick some to keep and pick some to donate.
- Teach your children to give gifts at holidays. Help them think of what the recipient would like.
- Have your children write thank you notes. If this is tough, no playing with the gift (or using gift cards/money) until the note is sent. If your kids are little, they can dictate to you and then practice writing their names.
- Go through toys after Thanksgiving to find items to donate.
- Every night, ask your kids what their favorite thing was today. Good idea for dinner time or bed time. Can’t say “nothing.”
- When praying for your food, get more specific. Instead of saying the same rote prayer, thank God for where each specific food item came from, the farmer who grew it, the weather in your garden, the animal that sacrificed, the worker who picked it, the ripeness of the berries, the flavor, specific nutrients, the person who prepared it for dinner, etc. After praying each of you should thank the cook too!
- Check out Ann Voskamp: “One Thousand Gifts” onethousandgifts.com and aholyexperience.com Read her book and/or do her challenges (31 day Challenge for Joy)
- On birthdays (or other special days), have each person go around and say what they love about the birthday person.
- Do The Blessing Challenge http://www.theblessing.com
- When you pray only thank God, don’t ask for things. Help your kids to do the same.
- Read and memorize Philippians 2:14 and I Thess 5:18, teach these to your kids.
- Read together “Material World: A Global Family Portrait” and “What the World Eats” by Peter Menzel
- Read “My Many Colored Days” by Seuss to help your children learn to name their moods and emotions instead of just whining or complaining.
- Do the Complaint Free World challenge – no complaining of any kind for 21 days. http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/complaint-free-schools has a free curriculum for “Complaint Free Kids.” Do this together as a family. This curriculum (and Bowen’s book) help clearly define what a complaint is.
- As a family, serve the poor together at a soup kitchen or shelter, or sponsor a child in a third-world country (pick one with a birthday close to your kids’).
- If your kids are whining, crying, complaining, etc., “H.A.L.T.“ Are they Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?
The biggest take-away from the meeting for me was that modeling gratitude, thankfulness, not complaining or whining, thanking your kids and your spouse are the most effective ways to instill gratitude in your kids.
In what ways does your family show gratitude? Do you have any tips for curbing whining and complaining?