post on our new house rules for gratitude...and how we were having issues with Kaelyn focusing on the negative and not paying attention to the positive (not all the time, but often enough that I can forsee a habit forming)....well, can I just say that two of our rules have already started to set in. And I am so excited...because I want her to find more in life and gratitude is the way!
This morning, there was a recent attack of ungratefulness from the backseat (is it just me, or does this ALWAYS happen in the car?? this and fighting over something between siblings) and it all revolved around a desire to go swimming even though
1. she lost her swimsuit
2. the new one had to be returned because it was the wrong size
3. it wasn't swim day
4. did I mention she doesn't even HAVE a swimsuit??? or the fact that we were on our way to Dance lessons, ChicFila, Playdate with friends, and Shopping (which is actually something she REALLY enjoys)...while already having had breakfast with Dad at work (a BIG DEAL!).
So, shortly after the complaining has slowed down, and I had explained to her why her sister had a swimsuit and she didn't (hello, you didn't NEED one, I bought you one, it didn't fit and then you LOST your original one!) we started to talk about the positives....and can I say that she came up with some really GREAT things to be thankful for!
"Kaelyn, I know you want to swim, but today isn't swim day, it's dance day. I'm sorry, but you have to wait until Friday. Now, lets focus on the things we can be thankful for instead of the things we can't change...what are you thankful for"
"My friends, getting to go swimming later, getting to go places, pretty eggs (this goes back to our original ungratefulness episode), dance class"
"Now, because you are mad at me about not taking you swimming, what do I do that makes your thankful" (and possibly because I'm feeling VERY underappreciated by said child)
"You take me places, you love me and Anna and new baby, you let me look at pretty things (those silly Easter eggs), and you let me nap with you in the afternoons so I won' t be afraid (that one made me tear up)."
I think she's starting to get it...and I love how nothing she said had ANYTHING to do with me buying her stuff, or toys, it was all experiences.
We have a LONG way to go, but I think we've got a good start here!
I've also started to take the time to thank Kaelyn for the little things she has started doing...and I even tricked her today by using the "full name treatment" to give her her praise. I'm going to start listing out all the positive things she does on a board for her to see at the end of the day! Times when I'm really grateful for her help/obedience/willingness
-put on her jacket and shoes without being prompted at Chicfila
-helped clean up dance studios toys without being prompted
-helped her sister on numerous occasions
-helped Anna get in the tunnels at the playplace
-used her manners to ask for things
I also know it's crazy to think that I'll stop my child from complaining, or that what she is doing is unusual, I know that it's not, and I know that some of it is to be expected which is why I'm not taking away her ability to complain. However I think, at least for our family and our lifestyle, it's vitally important that I equip my children with this lifeskill, one where they can vent about something they can't change and THEN find a way to fix it or get over it by focusing on all the good there is. My girls are constantly going to have things changed, people missing from major events (Daddy and Grandparents) due to our nomadic lifestyle, so I feel like the best thing I can give them is an optimistic outlook where they can pout for awhile about the bad but find a way to make it good or just focus on all the good things that they do have.
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