TEACHING ELSIE TO BE GRATEFUL
AT bedtime, Elsie and I have got a new routine.
Which goes a little something like this…pyjamas on, brush teeth, clean face, toilet trip, bedtime story (or two), lights out, cuddles and a question.
A very simple question that I’ve introduced over the past few weeks. And the question is this:
What have been your three favourite things about today? (Or in other words, what have you loved.)
Last night it was walking with Mummy to the doctors, having ‘Granny Pat’ visit and eating tomato soup for lunch.
Nothing too exciting, I’m sure you’ll agree! But that was her list. That was what she had loved about that day.
I started the question a couple of weeks back because I’m trying to instil in Elsie, the ability to be grateful. To thank her lucky stars for her very lovely life. To appreciate it. And to try and always look for the good, even in the bad.
It’s something I’m still learning myself. But kids are never too young to learn. And that ability to be thankful for what you already have, instead of always thinking you need more, is something I really want her to develop.
So I got started.
The first time I asked her, she didn’t really ‘get it’. I had to phrase it differently and it took her a while to think of things. To even think back properly over the day and not include something from the day before or from two months ago!
But now a couple of weeks on, it’s become as much a part of our bedtime routine as reading her a story and something that she really looks forward to.
So much so, that when I’m lying next to her, cuddling her and stroking her hair, if I forget, she will remind me!
“Mummy, ask me the question about my favourite things…”
Asking her to think of three things that she’s loved about the day, is no biggie, granted. But it’s a little step in the right direction, as I try to lead her towards living a positive life.
I really believe that.
And the funny thing is, the thing that’s really struck me, is that besides Elsie getting something from it, so do I.
I get a glimpse into the workings of her beautiful, active, little brain. And I get to know what is really important to her. The three favourite things question, gives me an indication of what makes her happy. And what she needs more of.
It’s a precious insight into her world, the way she sees it and it’s really, really enlightening.
Honestly? I wish I’d thought of and introduced it yonks ago.
Mostly -as demonstrated in last night’s list! – it’s the simplest things that have touched her the most. Spending time with a loved one. Enjoying our cuddles when I put her to bed. Or Daddy taking her to feed the ducks.
It nearly always includes some food which never fails to make me smile. (She’s a gal after my heart with this one!)
And interestingly, rarely includes material possessions, unless she’s talking about the pleasure of them, like being happy about wearing a party dress to a party for instance.
The things that she is mostly grateful for are; time with loved ones, attention, fun, adventures, cuddles and good food (!). These are the things that have touched her the most.
In a world full of distractions and ‘stuff’, it is the simplest stuff that makes her the happiest. Which when we think about it, is pretty much true for all of us.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your child a little more, I can hand on heart, recommend it. It’s pretty magical and eye opening stuff.