This post is brought to you in partnership with Relay. All opinions are our own.
This Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for many things — especially for the tiny humans we are raising. But when we work hard to give our kids the best life possible, sometimes their gratitude gets lost among the gaming systems, iPads and other conveniences they grow up with.
We teamed up with Relay, makers of the screen-free smartphone, to bring you a few easy habits your family can start right now to bring a little gratitude into your child’s heart.
1. Give your kids more freedom — and more responsibility.
Like a story from a movie, it’s hard to appreciate what you have at home until you go out into the big wide world and see for yourself. Giving your kid the freedom to engage in outdoor play can help them appreciate everything from the tree in the backyard to the cozy heating system in your home. Bonus: active play is also crucial for kids’ brain development!
Not crazy about the idea of your kid playing unsupervised? Give them a Relay so you can talk to them and keep an eye on them with GPS tracking — safety first! Learn more about how Relay works here.
You can give your kid more freedom indoors, too. Try teaching your kid how to do their own laundry or clean their bathroom. Maybe they can pack their own school lunch. Not only will they gain an appreciation for the work you do, but they’ll also learn valuable life skills that won’t leave them floundering when they leave home one day.
2. Create routines and set limits on screen time.
Unlimited anything saps our appreciation for things. Try eating your favorite meal every day for a month and you will understand. All the screen time kids are getting these days can make them less grateful for the other fun and amazing things in their lives. Setting boundaries can let kids discover new things they like and feel grateful for the screen time they are allowed. For tips on setting boundaries and routines, check out this article.
For a screen-free alternative that won’t distract kids from their play, have them take their Relay around with them and play with friends outdoors instead. This can have the added benefit of improving your child’s overall attitude, as a study by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital indicates that the blue light from screens may negatively affect your child’s sleep cycle — and sleep and mood are very connected!
3. Talk with your kids regularly — and listen to what they say.
Good communication can make a world of difference in relationships and attitudes. One way to make your child feel more grateful for the wonderful aspects of their life is to make them feel heard and acknowledged.
Try setting aside a time for the family to come together every day, or every week if daily events seem like too much. Let your child talk about the things they would like to talk about rather than dictating the direction of the conversation. Maybe they need to vent about a stressful school situation. Maybe they just want to talk about a cool book they are reading or a movie they saw. Regardless, simply listening to them can make them feel like their thoughts and opinions matter to you, and this can lead to not only gratefulness, but a fuller, more trusting relationship.
Facilitating communication is one of Relay’s chief goals. Devoid of distracting and possibly harmful screens, Relay allows you and your children to be a button’s push away at all times.
Want to learn more about Relay? Click here for more information.