10 Ways to Make Teens More Grateful

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Today is September 11th.  7 years ago today I was getting ready for a regular day as a Junior in High School eating Cheerios as I watched the second tower fall.  Today, in honor of the heroes and victim’s memory, I wanted to write a post about being grateful.

Being grateful is one of the most important qualities and values to teach young people.  Here are a few ideas (and challenges to give your kids) to help your teens, tweens and children be more thankful.

1. Take Away A Sense

I think we often forget how lucky we are to have our basic senses.  One idea is to challenge your kids to go without one of their senses for one day…or even an hour! See if they can do it and talk to them about appreciating their health!

2. Have a Local Meal and Prepare It Yourself

I loved the book the Herbivore’s Dilemma about one man’s challenge to produce and prepare all of his own food including hunting, gathering and growing.  Challenge your kids to get a meal that is all local grown or retrieved and have them prepare it themselves.

3. Brush Your Teeth

I started doing this one when I was a freshman in High School and love it.  Whenever I brush my teeth (usually just night and morning, but sometimes after lunch too) I think about all of the things I am grateful for.  Now it is just habit and a really good way to start and end the day.

4. Snap Your Negative Thoughts

Put a rubber band around their wrist and any time they have a negative thought they snap themselves.  This can be a very physical reminder of having positive thoughts.

5. Gratitude Wall

Have them make a collage of things they wish for themselves and things they are grateful for and have them put it up in their room.

6. Set an Alarm

Set an alarm for four times a day and when it goes off think about what you are grateful for! I do this when I work and get a little pop-up on my desktop.

7. Give Thanks Before Meals

This is an oldie but goody.  Always say thanks before eating and appreciate the food you have.

8. Make a List

I think this can be a great exercise to do with teens.  Have everyone in your family sit down together and make their list.

9. Write Random Thank You Notes

I try to write as many thank you notes as I can, but it is always good to write random thank you notes to people for just being them.  Do this for business colleagues, friends or even acquaintances.

10. Make A Care Package

I love love love making care packages and sending them to friends.  Make a list with your teens of a few of their friends favorite things and help them make little homemade ‘I like you’ packages.

If you like this article, read our other Radical Parenting Articles.  If you are really inspired, think about taking the Radical Parenting Pledge..are you radical enough?

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  • http://www.freeworldcommunity.info/others/include-the-children-in-our-quest-for-freedom-and-justice/ Childrens’ Quest for Freedom

    I remember my teenage years after reading this article. The most important period of life being the teen years is the most dangerous too. This is the phase where the sprouting branches of the tree of life determines which path to take; whether grow up to point to the sky or shrivel up and eventually rot away.

    I had the luxury of proper education and guidance during this phase of my life and I fully agree with the importance of gratitude, no matter how insignificant it may seem…

  • http://www.freeworldcommunity.info/others/include-the-children-in-our-quest-for-freedom-and-justice/ Childrens’ Quest for Freedom

    I remember my teenage years after reading this article. The most important period of life being the teen years is the most dangerous too. This is the phase where the sprouting branches of the tree of life determines which path to take; whether grow up to point to the sky or shrivel up and eventually rot away.

    I had the luxury of proper education and guidance during this phase of my life and I fully agree with the importance of gratitude, no matter how insignificant it may seem…

  • http://www.susanheim.blogspot.com Susan M. Heim

    This is a great article. Studies show that adopting an “attitude of gratitude” will help you be happier! This is especially important for teens, who tend to be vulnerable to depression, stress, etc. I think if everyone spent a little time every day thinking about what they’re grateful for, it would be a kinder world!

  • http://stimeyland.blogspot.com Stimey

    This is something I’ve really been working on with my littler kids. I’m going to print this out and try to implement some of these with them. Thanks!

  • http://www.wiglingtonandwenks.com online games for kids

    this is a great article, brings my back to some time few years ago. Thanks for that. My parents never really teach me how to be grateful.. but somehow i’ve been through moments that made me grateful of myself. And it feels good to feel that way. =)

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