It's Thanksgiving, the time of year when families traditionally count their blessings and celebrate togetherness.
For many families, who find themselves harried by the hustle and bustle of the holidays - not to mention ordinary day-to-day life - this is a good opportunity to implement "thankful time," a time of thanks and sharing that can help strengthen relationships and increase communication.
"This is designed to help the family appreciate each other more and help build self-esteem," says Dave Bennett, a clinical psychologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
¢ Tell your child what you appreciate about him or her.
¢ Be totally positive.
¢ Ask your child what she is thankful for. Younger children are possibly going to focus on material possessions. But through daily intervention, your child's values, such as honesty, respect, responsibility and appreciation should change.
¢ Don't criticize any of the thankful statements your child comes up with.
¢ Do this around bedtime, since that is the last contact your child has with you for several hours and will make a lasting impression.
¢ Try to incorporate this in your daily life. These attitudes may make a difference in the family's happiness.
This process is valuable because children, as well as adults, often repeat in their heads what they have recently heard in their environment. If a child is hearing a large number of negatives comments, he or she likely will be repeating these comments to himself later. On the other hand, if the child is hearing what his world appreciates about him, the child will repeat this to himself and consequently feel much better.