Growing Confident, Caring, and Resilient Kids with Gratitude and Family Routines
When springtime rolls around, farmers and amateur gardeners alike emerge from their homes to till the earth, plant seeds, give them water, and watch them grow. The practice of cultivating emotional well-being isn’t much different. And while spring isn’t the only time of year we can tend to our health and wellness, the seasonal transition from winter to spring has a way of inspiring us to nurture ourselves—mind, body, and soul.
That’s because springtime is chock-full of exciting happenings. Bears come out from their dens after months of sleepy hibernation. Trees that had shed their last leaves in the fall become dotted with vibrant green buds. Migratory birds return from their winter holiday and fill the air with their sweet songs. It’s as if the world is coming back to life, encouraging us to emerge from the comfort of our own cozy dens so we can join in its chorus of reawakening.
And so, we do. We spend more time outside, stopping to appreciate the colorful bounty of various flowers in bloom. We chase butterflies through fields of emerging green grass, wondering how something so beautiful could have formed inside of something as drab as a cocoon. Our modern lifestyles may have separated us from nature, but we are still very much in tune with its rhythms.
With so many reasons to celebrate, it’s no wonder that spring is a season of traditions. One of the most widely recognized spring traditions is the observance of Easter. People all over the world celebrate Easter, and the ways in which they do so are as varied as their cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Whether it’s a day for Easter egg hunts, family brunches, religious ceremonies, or all the above, the common threads that run through all these activities the world over is a sense of community and a spirit of gratitude.
Practicing gratitude on a regular basis improves our overall health and well being. By shifting our thoughts from that which we lack to that which we are grateful to have, we develop positive self-esteem and increased mental strength. We enjoy better relationships and increased happiness—both of which stem from a larger capacity for empathy. Physically, we benefit from stress reduction and more restful sleep.
It’s no secret that little ones take their cues from the loving adults in their lives. As such, modeling the practice of gratitude is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow on your child. You might even think of gratitude as a form of emotional spring cleaning! And while Easter is one springtime occasion in which gratitude takes center stage, it’s far from the only opportunity to take notice and be thankful for the things, people, and connections we have. Spring is abundant with opportunities to engage in family rituals.
Family rituals are a wonderful way to strengthen the connection between children and their caregivers. They provide children with a sense of belonging and stability, helping them feel safe because they can predict what will happen next. These kinds of traditions create lasting memories while reinforcing family values and beliefs. Rituals can be very simple or very elaborate, as long as they have meaning for your family.
It’s never too late to start new rituals and traditions—and it’s also okay to let go of old ones if they are no longer working for you! Below are some ideas for new activities you might try with your family this spring. Maybe you’ll like one so much that it becomes a family ritual. Whatever traditions you cultivate, the important thing is to tend to the moments that matter most. By nurturing your little one’s emotional well-being, there’s no limit to what can grow.
- Springtime Nature Walk: Put a piece of masking tape, sticky side out, around your child’s wrist like a bracelet. Then go on a springtime nature walk together. Pick up little things to add to the bracelet (i.e., a piece of grass, a leaf, a clover, etc.). Notice what things remind you of spring and which ones are leftover from winter.
- Springtime Scavenger Hunt: Make a list with your child of things that you may be able to see outside now that it’s spring (i.e., squirrels, flowers, their shadow, etc.). Then go on a walk or look outside together and put a checkmark by the ones you see.
- Planting Seeds: Depending on where you live, this could be a good time to start some seedlings ( inside first if it’s still frosty!). Reusing an egg carton, try planting little seeds together and watch as they begin to grow. Check online to see what seeds are best to plant where you live.
- Springtime Snack: Food is often a part of family traditions. Whether you make a homemade family recipe or buy a springtime treat from the store, find a springtime snack that has meaning to you and your family.
- Gratitude Collage: Draw pictures or write words about things that you feel grateful for. These could be on the topic of springtime, winter, Easter, or family. Spend time celebrating gratitude and notice what it feels like when you share these moments together.
Good luck! This giveaway runs through Sunday, 2/23 at 11:59pm PT. Winner will be announced in this post on Monday, 2/24.