Leading up to our next Whole life Challenge starting on Saturday, I will be inspiring you with a bunch of guest posts to get you ready for good health and happiness! No matter what your cooking personality looks like, you can do the Whole Life Challenge!
If you want to sign up for our team, do so NOW here: Team Take Back the Kitchen
Today’s guest blogger is Mike Ferry and he has a lot to say about happiness in the kitchen and how we can model for our kids or ourselves!!
It’s the end of a long day. You’re stressed out from the multitude of emails, meetings, and other requirements of employment and existence in the modern age. Rather than greeting you with warm cheers of thanksgiving, your cranky kids grunt, “I’m hungry! What’s for dinner?” As you do more often than you’d like to admit, you hop on the culinary path of least resistance. Top Ramen. Again.
Sound familiar? So many of us make decisions like this on a daily basis. Life in the 21st century is exhausting, and it’s nearly impossible to keep all the balls in the air.
How would you like to lower your stress, bring joy to the home, and have more energy in the kitchen? The solution is simpler than you may think – teaching happiness.
By teaching happiness to our kids, we get them on track for happier and healthier lives. While we guide our children towards the goals we have for them, we achieve less stress, a stronger immune system, a sense of optimism, and more energy for ourselves. We can kill two birds with one stone by teaching happiness at home!
If you are happy and lighthearted already, great! If not, that’s perfectly fine. We get better with practice. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Over time, we can hard-wire our brains for happiness by making certain habits regular parts of our lives.
Gratitude is one of the easiest happiness habits to introduce to your home. It’s cost free, and it doesn’t require a prescription. Here are four strategies for teaching gratitude to your kids:
1. Model gratitude. Parents who complain all the time will have kids who complain all the time. Make an effort to focus on the good.
2. Make a gratitude wall. Using Post-It Notes, write down something you’re grateful for at least twice a day. Put your notes on the wall of your kitchen. We tend to think about things that go wrong and bother us, but the gratitude wall will visually remind us of our blessings. Plus, it’s creative and fun! When you’ve done this for a week, celebrate by preparing your favorite family meal together.
3. Earn the fun with gratitude. Does your kindergartner want a cookie? Does your teen want the car keys? Make your kids “earn the fun” with gratitude. They can get what they want after adding to the gratitude wall or telling you something they’re grateful for. You may see some rolling of the eyes at first, but your children will eventually get with the program.
4. Connect with current events. Many of our parents made us clean our plates by guilt-tripping us with tales of starving Ethiopians. It may seem preachy, but we need to point out how lucky we are to our children. We take so much for granted. Think about water for example. When we’re thirsty, we go to the sink on autopilot. What about those kids in Flint? They can’t do that. By making connections with stories from the news, our kids will start to appreciate the little things. They may even become motivated to do something to help others in need. In this way, gratitude can lead to kindness, another habit of happy people.
Mike Ferry is a 13-year veteran middle school history teacher, father of four, and the author of Teaching Happiness And Innovation. To learn more ways to teach happiness to kids and improve your own life at the same time, visit www.happinessandinnovation.com. You may also connect with him on Twitter – @MikeFerry7.