Gratitude: A simple trick to turn your kids’ attitude around in 60 seconds (or your own)

child thank youMy kids have this natural ability to whine and complain. It must be a gift because they’re so good at it and I haven’t given them one lesson on it. (Or perhaps it’s in their genes, since I seem to exhibit the same ability and don’t recall being taught how to do it either)

Give them one cookie and they whine when I say no to a second. Let them play a video game for a half hour and they complain when it’s time to turn it off. As them to clean up their rooms, do their homework, or eat some vegetables and sometimes you’d think I’d asked them to carry 50 pounds of manure up a 10 mile hill.

When that happens, I often do a quick little exercise with them. I say:

Name 5 things you’re thankful for.

I did this so many times it started to become cliche in our house and my children started whining about the exercise. So, I started to mix it up for fun… Tell me 4 things you’re thankful for that are red. Tell me 6 things you’re thankful for that are sticky. It can be pretty silly at times.  Or it can be more serious… Tell me 3 things you’re thankful for that aren’t things.  Tell me 5 people outside our family you’re thankful for.

The point is that it takes their focus away from what they don’t have and reminds them they have much to be thankful for.

And guess what…

It works for adults too.

The next time you feel like whining about traffic, your job, your struggles, what someone else has that you don’t… name 5 things you are thankful for.

When have you seen gratitude turn around your children’s attitude?  Or your own?

7 Responses to “Gratitude: A simple trick to turn your kids’ attitude around in 60 seconds (or your own)”

  1. Great post and great ideals, right on a kids level.

    I think my favorite would be, “What am I thankful for that is eatable! 🙂

  2. Lol Paul, my kids sound just like yours… except for the veg, they love veg!

    Great idea!

  3. Love it! Great idea.

    I often do this for myself, and have sometimes required my kids to say “thank you” for something they were whining about.

    I like the idea of requiring kids to think of 5 things for which they are thankful.

    Thanks for posting!


  1. Ain’t No Sunshine « Bedouin Fire - November 24, 2011

    […] on gratitude this Thanksgiving, try Paul Steinbrueck’s post on Living Intentionally: “Gratitude: A Simple Trick to Turn Your Kids’ Attitude Around….” GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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