Are you or the kids feeling a little a little grouchy?
Unschooling and gratitude really tie in together and can really help shift your attitude - for you and for the kids!
This week, I’m tying Unschooling in with Gratitude.
So often, we parents are swept away with our To Do lists and we forget to slow down. We're so busy looking at what needs to be fixed or adjusted, we forget to notice everything - so many things - going right!
And here's how this ties in with unschooling.
As the parent at home with the kids, probably one of THE most important adults in their lives, we have to be conscious of how we're showing up. Even if they seem to be totally distracted with their own interests, they're noticing you. And very likely, they're taking notes about how adults are "supposed to act."
I’m Sue Patterson, and this is the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast. Since it’s November, I wanted to be sure to talk a little about Gratitude with you. So often, I hear from clients who have started into a negative spiral about what’s happening in their houses. And so much of that could be turned around by focusing on Gratitude.
Making the conscious choice to focus on the good things happening each day will have
a giant impact on your overall outlook. Have you heard the Buddhist saying,
Turn Your Face Toward the Light - and you’ll see so much Light.
Turn Your Face Toward the Dark - and you’ll see mainly dark.
We all want more happiness and joy in our lives.
But we can let our circumstances - or our exhaustion or our worries - get the better of us.
And sometimes, when we’re really honest, we can share out loud that this parenting thing isn’t always that great. It can get monotonous. It can even be boring. I’m sure this seems a little odd - hearing this from me - when I talk a lot about the fabulous adventures that you’ll have with unschooling.
And I DO believe that you will have awesome experiences!
But here’s the thing we all know:
It’s not fabulous every day. Nothing is, really.
But we can start to shift our mindset about our lives, and things can get better. Focusing on gratitude can lower our stress level - our body experiences actual physical, psychological, and social benefits when we do this. Turning it into a small daily practice can increase the likelihood that improvements will stick. It moves happiness - and a healthier mental attitude - to the forefront of our brains.
And it can start with Gratitude.
One of the interesting things about being an unschooling parent is you get this opportunity to really examine what’s happening in your home - as well as in your own mind. It’s all related, isn’t it?
When we’re not happy, that spreads through the house pretty quickly.
And while I’m not saying “Be happy, Every Day, Non-Stop!” - that would be weird and totally impossible.
I am saying that we have the chance to change the trajectory a little bit by reframing and dusting off some ideas in our head. And this WILL translate to a little more happiness in our day to day lives.
It may feel a little trite to ask you if you have a "Gratitude Practice."
I know the answer for most of you,
"Sounds great. But who has time?"
I'm asking you to make a little time. I really believe it will help you with your unschooling.
Where can you find 3-4 minutes every day for a little Gratitude?
- How about 3-4 minutes less on your social media newsfeed - just 3-4 minutes!
- Ponder your list while you're doing the dishes.
- Think of your personal gratitude list whenever you're sitting at a red light.
Lots of areas in our homes are going well - so let’s not breeze past those. When we do that, it takes us back to only focusing on where we came up short! It’s so easy to have this happen - with the never ending laundry, meals, and life challenges. Then we get distracted by these things and forget to notice what’s going right or what you really want to pause and be grateful for.
So let’s do something about that!
Set up little gratitude reminders for yourself throughout the house to help bring these ideas back to the front of your mind.
Take a deep breath when you see these reminders, or think of a happy memory.
That's how you make the association. Over and over. And it can become a habit.
So what would make good reminders?
We have Gratitude memes at Pinterest.
You could save the ones that resonate with you.
Over on Instagram, I’ve included a few specifically connected with unschooling.
You could always save and print them! I’ll be adding more, but here are the first three I put up:
I’m grateful that unschoolers get to pursue their curiosities without having to get “the other stuff done first.”
I’m grateful that unschooled kids aren’t being conditioned to be People Pleasers.
I’m grateful that unschooled parents are able to SEE first-hand how kids are hard-wired to learn.
Sometimes we need visual reminders that we’re trying to focus on gratitude. If you’re like me, it sounds good, but then you forget!
- So how about printing out cards or notes and taping them up on the bathroom mirror - Inspire Yourself!
- Screensavers on your phone/computer instead of printing - that way you see them every time you pick up your phone. Saving your favorite social media photos works too!
- A Gratitude Jar where you simply get in the habit of writing down one good thing that happened each day…. And then read them at the end of year, or the month. Keep it on the counter so you see it - and keep little scraps of paper nearby too to it’s easy to write something quickly.
- Hang some wind chimes you can pass and touch. The sound can help you remember to be grateful.
- Buy new scented candles specifically to remind you of focusing on gratitude.
- Start a modified gratitude Journal on your phone - a running list of what you’re grateful for. Sometimes doing something really convenient will make you more likely to continue.
So Instead of thinking,
“I’d like to do that... someday,”
I want you to try one of the Gratitude Activities listed here, or over at Pinterest!
Or if you join my Membership Group, we’re focusing on Gratitude all month long! It’s so good to make changes right along other people doing something similar! You should join us over there!
I have over 300 resources associated with gratitude over at the Unschooling Mom2Mom Pinterest boards. It’s worth checking out.
Remember, Gratitude isn’t just for November. It’s important all year. And it's not just for us parents! So often people complain that kids seem ungrateful. But are you modeling gratitude? Maybe that's how to shift everyone's attitude. When we start being really open about our own gratitude, we can help them create gratitude practices too.
So that’s it for me - enjoy your unschooling adventure with your family.
Reach out if you need extra help - and we’ll talk again next week.