Gratitude

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November seems to be the perfect month to talk gratitude. Last year I talked about teaching gratitude (https://www.babywisemom.com/2010/11/teaching-gratitude.html). I focused a lot on being a good example of gratitude to teach gratitude. I stand by that today.

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Gratitude is such a powerful thing. I think it is a great stepping stone to many great virtues. If you are grateful for what you have, you seem to be more willing to share it with others. Gratitude leads to service. Gratitude also leads to happiness. When you are grateful for what you have, you are happy. Being happy leads to being kind. If you are happy, you aren’t going to be bitter or mean-spirited toward people.

Our children really reflect who we are. I thought I would issue a little challenge for us all for the next few weeks. I challenge us (including myself) to keep a gratitude journal each day.

When I was in college, I was challenged to do this. I was given a little notebook (sorry, I won’t be providing notebooks). Each night, I would write down 3-5 things I was thankful for. The first few nights are easy. Family. Friends. Warm home. Food. Church. Gospel. But once you run out of those standard answers, you start to think a little harder about it, and start to see all of the small and simple things you have to be grateful for in your life. 

Doing this daily really changes your perspective to focus on the many blessings you have been given. It does lead to a more content, happy, serviceable person. That, in turn, will lead to a better you and more content, happy, and serviceable children. What a great way to start off the holiday season! Rather than focusing on what we want, focus on what we have. 

My idea is to all share some of our blessings around Thanksgiving. 

I have to also share an idea we have done for the last few years. It is called the Thankful Basket. Follow that link for info on it. It involves the entire family and is fun to do throughout the month, also. 


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valplowman

Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

3 Comments

  1. Maria
    November 2, 2011 / 1:09 AM

    I love the idea of a gratitude journal! When I was in high school, I started one and really learned to appreciate ALL the little things. Even though I no longer write one, I often make mental lists before bed and thank God for these things. Definitely a great family tradition 🙂

  2. Rachel Stella
    November 2, 2011 / 8:08 AM

    Great pic by the way 🙂

  3. Plowmanators
    November 3, 2011 / 6:04 PM

    Thanks Maria! And thanks Rachel. I took that myself. See, my photography class did improve my skills.

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Gratitude

Any links to Amazon are affiliate links.

Since today is Thanksgiving in the United States and I live in the United States, I thought it would be a good day to mention gratitude. I have a quote that says, “Gratitude is the best attitude.” So true.

We start to teach our children about gratitude at a young age. When they first start to say “Thank you,” they most likely don’t know what it really means. Lack of understanding doesn’t mean you can’t teach them correct behavior. Understanding of behavior usually follows learning the actions of it for children.

If you have a young baby, my advice to you is to tell your child “Thank You” every chance you get. Modeling behavior is a great way to teach it. I discovered that I say thank you a lot. One of Brayden’s first words was “Thank you.” He used it correctly and has been good at it ever since. I since noticed that I thank for everything. Kaitlyn has turned out the same. She thanks, and thanks even more efficiently. Since she talks in complete sentences, she says, “Thank you for my milk, Mama.” How sweet!

One thing I realized I wasn’t good at was saying “please.” When I asked for things, my tone and choice of phrasing implied ‘please,’ but I wasn’t good at saying it. I have had to train Brayden to say please, and it is something I frequently remind him of to this day (not necessarily unreasonably, but more than I would if I had modeled it for him).

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I vowed to do better, and I did. It took and takes effort on my part to add please when I ask for something, but I am doing it! Kaitlyn is just as good at ‘please’ as she is ‘thank you.’ This has shown me how strong of an impact modeling during the first year is on your child. And remember, you can also sign all along so they can sign if they aren’t verbal early on (see Sign Language : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/sign-language.html).

We have had several lessons this month on gratitude with our children. After one lesson, we got out a huge piece of paper. The family gathered around and drew pictures of things we were thankful for. It started off slowly, but Brayden quickly caught on and started drawing item after item without pausing to think. This is how gratitude works. When we think with a grateful heart, it is easy for us to recognize the many things we have to be thankful for. We focus on the good rather than the bad. Teaching your child to be grateful is teaching your child one secret to being happy.

valplowman

Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

13 Comments

  1. atara
    November 28, 2008 / 7:53 PM

    Wow! The sign language thing rocks! I will definitely do the ones in BWII. I just wish the ones on the signing website weren’t so expensive!

  2. The Pinnt's
    November 28, 2008 / 8:56 PM

    What a wonderful post.Thank YOU! I just want to say thank you for being so faithful and diligent to this blog. Even though there are posts that don’t apply to my parenting at this point in my life I know they will or have at some point. It is SO refreshing and encouraging to read this blog. It is honestly one of the things I go to in the middle of a tough day as a mom. I am also so surprised at how well you’ve kept up with it while you are pregnant! Good for you! I am grateful.

  3. Jennifer
    November 28, 2008 / 9:57 PM

    atara, we have checked the Baby Signing Time DVD’s out for the library. A great (free) way to avoid purchasing them 🙂

  4. Natalie
    November 29, 2008 / 6:07 PM

    Do you ever feel like your kids aren’t fully trained? My baby girl is about 11 weeks old now. Her night sleep has been going well for the last week. She goes down for bedtime at six pm and her 7:30 and 10:30 feeds have both become dreamfeeds in that she nurses good and well but will not wake up for them. She doesn’t wake till 6:30 or 7:00. This took a few nights of CIO. The thing is her naps are always ALWAYS messed up. It seems like every other day she is off for some reason. She usually goes down fine, but she almost always has problems staying asleep past 45-60 minutes. I’ve switched to a 2.5 hr schedule mostly because she can only handle being asleep maybe an hour and a half. The thing is she can barely handle being awake for an hour, sometimes still only 45 mins which further complicates things. Since her nighttime sleep has gotten really good and she goes down pretty easily for her naps I count my blessings, but I’m really and truly starting to think if there’s even a point to continuing doing babywise beyond just feeding her every 2.5-3 hrs. How can I? Half the time she’s already been awake for 30 mins or more before she eats. I can’t force her to sleep. I’ve read all the posts regarding the 45 min intruder, gas, EVERYTHING. Nothing works every time. Sometimes she has a good day or two but then for whatever reason the next days naps will be messed up. I have really tried everything I can think of. I’ve kept her inside all day, taken her our, tried to keep her awake at least an hour, put her down earlier than an hour. I’m so sad because I really feel like I’m doing something wrong. Why can’t she just get it? Is she sleeping too long at night? Really I’m not even that upset about it anymore because I don’t see a point in it. But I’m trying so hard and just when I think I’ve gotten it for a couple of days she just does her own thing again. At this point I try to interpret her cries. If she’s bored I leave her in her crib. If it’s gas pain I try to massage it out. If she been crying non stop for 10-15 mins then I just put her in her swing, in which she never ever falls asleep. I’ve tried feeding her early, she throws up and doesn’t nurse well. 🙁

  5. Natalie
    November 29, 2008 / 9:21 PM

    I wanted to add that I think I’m frustrated because MANY mothers experience the issue of the 45 min napper, to the point where I wish babywise and baby whisperer addressed it much more. I think what happens is the type of woman that follows babywise is also one that has the tendency to freak out and feel guilty when their baby is doing anything that is not in the book. At least for me this seems like some or a lot of the time. When your baby doesn’t do what she’s supposed to and none of the books provide any solutions that work your basically left with a crying baby for 45 mins. It could drive anyone insane.

  6. WeeHands
    December 2, 2008 / 5:46 PM

    I also agree that using sign language with your baby rocks! :)Sara Bingham, Founder WeeHandsauthor of The Baby Signing Book

  7. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 9:00 PM

    Atara, they can be expensive. Be sure to look to your local library if you have one. We often check out signing books from the library. Also, public television will air Signing Time once or twice a week in my area, so look into that as well. You can also Google “sign dog in ASL” and you will get many websites that show you how to do so.

  8. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 9:01 PM

    Thanks the Pintt’s! I appreciate that. I am not as on top of the blog as I would like to be, but I am doing my best. I am sure it won’t improve for a while since I will have a newborn soon 🙂

  9. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 9:02 PM

    Thanks Jennifer! I actually haven’t ever thought of checking to see if they have videos. I will have to do that next time I am there.

  10. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 9:09 PM

    Natalie, it is possible she is sleeping too long in the night. That is a long time for 11 weeks, but if she is doing it happily and successfully, I wouldn’t change that. I would just wait for things to be able to improve in the day.I think you should be happy with your progress so far. It takes time to get baby fully sleep trained. As she can handle a longer waketime, her schedule in the day will lengthen out. She is still young. I know it doesn’t seem like it from where you are sitting, but she is really young.Take comfort in knowing that the 45 minute nap is common. Your baby isn’t the only one. Also, I would encourage you to look beyond the sleeping. Establishing good sleep habits is a great foundation for future BW philosophies. They are about training your child to be moral, responsible, well-behaved people that others love to be around. It isn’t just about sleeping. Your daughter is still in a learning phase. As she gets older, she should work the kinks out.

  11. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 9:09 PM

    Thanks Sara!

  12. Natalie
    December 2, 2008 / 11:13 PM

    Thank you for reminding me that she is a wee little one still. I wrote that post in a fit of exhaustion and frustration. I so apologize for soundig so upset I just got so beside myself. I need to learn to relax! Olive that she sleeps well at night and like always she’s napped well today and yesterday. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. And she is already a pleasure to be around so hopefully she’ll continue that way. Thanks again for your support and dedication.

  13. Plowmanators
    December 3, 2008 / 9:11 PM

    You are welcome Natalie. And don’t worry, we all have moments of frustration like that 🙂

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