Teach her to be appreciative
Most of us realize that the secret to happiness isn't owning a lot of stuff. It's really about instilling in our kids a strong sense of authentic gratitude and appreciation for what the world offers free of charge. The best way to do it? Feel it yourself. "When parents express gratitude for everyday events, their kids grow up feeling more joyful, enthusiastic, determined, interested, and engaged in the world around them," says Dr. Carter.
Lead the way by simply stopping what you're doing and expressing thanks for the moment, whether it's a beautiful sunset, an ice-cream cone, or the opportunity to spend an hour in the park together. According to the National Institute for Healthcare Research, we're more likely to say "thank you" to strangers or acquaintances than to our own family members or friends. But when we show appreciation, kids learn to do the same.
"For the last three years, we've been doing 'gratefuls' as part of our nightly bedtime routine," says Katherine Havener, of San Ramon, California. "Every night, we ask 5-year-old Brianna and 2-year-old Elea, 'What are you grateful for today?' It's such a beautiful and calming way to end the day -- especially since they're almost always grateful for us and each other."