Easy, Gratitude Boosting Tradition You Can Start by Lunchtime

"We are thankful for this food and for each other. Happy lunch, yo."
This is my family's version of saying grace, we call it saying thanks. Yesterday I taught it to my nanny kids. They loved it!

It Starts with a Cheerful Call and Response
As soon as we all sit down at the table (or picnic blanket) I say, "who's thankful?" The kids answer, "I am!" This simple call and response quiets the group, brings our attention to each other and reminds us that we have lots to be thankful for. Plus, it's like a cheer and instantly makes gratitude feel lighthearted and fun.

The Kids Listen for their Cue to Begin 
Then I say, "let's say our thanks." And together we begin. "We are thankful for this food and for each other. Happy lunch, yo." There's often lots of drumming on the table and sometimes we end in a fork cheers.

We Vary the Style but Not the Words
Sometimes we take turns leading our thanks. The leader gets to choose the style like: hip hop, cowboy, punk, robot.

Science Shows that Gratitude Leads to Happiness  
I try to make sure every childcare tip I share does two things: make life easier for you in the day-to-day and serve kids in the long run. This tradition does just that! Science shows us that gratitude and looking for the positive in life leads to happiness. Shawn Achor, Harvard Professor and NY Times Bestselling Author discusses the power of gratitude and other simple practices to increase happiness and success in his 12 minute TED Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work

Back to yesterday, when I taught the kids our thanks, one asked: "what does thankful mean?" I answered and at once he lit up and said: "I'm thankful for mom and dad!" This sparked a spontaneous brainstorm. The kids listed people, toys and experiences they are thankful for. One even got quiet and said she was thankful that we live in a place without war. 

This simple, funny tradition can slip right into your regular routine. Saying thanks, together is an easy way to add meaning and presence to meals - a time that can easily be overlooked but offers a wonderful opportunity to practice gratitude each day. 

I'd love to hear from you! Would this tradition work for you and your charges? 

Tell us in the comments. Your insights are just what other nannies and parents are hoping to hear! So thank you for adding your voice to the conversation! 

Kai Kunkel6 Comments