Four Simple Ways Families Can Learn Gratitude Together
It’s not very hard to teach children to be grateful for what they have. You simply have to explain what gratitude is, why they need it
Keep A Gratitude Jar
If you just want to keep things simple, put a jar on your counter accessible to everyone and write “gratitude” on it. Place Post-it notes or note cards near by with a pen or pencil and instruct everyone to write down one thing they are grateful for daily and slip it in the jar.
Tell them to really feel the joy they feel at having whatever it is as they write it down and place it in the jar. At the end of every evening or once a week at family dinner, go through the jar and share with everyone all of its contents. Give everyone the opportunity to explain why he or she is grateful for their item.
Write In A Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal can be a beautiful journal, a spiral notebook, the back of an envelope or even sticky notes you place on your mirror. Do you and pick a medium that works for you, and simply – on a daily basis – write down everything you are grateful for in your life.
Do this in the morning, before bed or whenever you’re feeling low. Challenge yourself to write a list of say 5 or 10 things you’re grateful for big or small. This can be a fun activity when you’re feeling good, and a difficult one when you’re sad. But it’s when you’re feeling down that this exercise can help you the most. Just create your list and think about the happiness you feel for every item.
Before long your mood will lift and you’ll feel better than when. you started. On the flipside, if you do this daily – stay aware of all you have to be grateful for – your lows won’t be so low and when you are – it won’t last as long.
Just try it and see for yourself. Science backs up the practice of gratitude for a better well-being.
Have your children keep their own journal, and allow them to share or not share the contents with you. And let them see you writing in yours. Set aside time weekly to discuss your lists. Bring snacks and make it fun!
Create A Gratitude Collage
Gratitude collages are a great option for the artsy and crafty. You can create a collage to hang in your home, or you could even create a Pinterest board if that’s your thing. Either way, get your tools together – old magazines, scissors and glue sticks. Other fun sticky scrapbooking elements can be purchased from craft stores and used as well.
Play uplifting music and have family members talk about each item they are grateful for as they are placing it on the board. Remind everyone to go to the
Write Thank You Notes
Writing thank you notes doesn’t have to be a lost art. And it also doesn’t have to only be for weddings! Keep stacks of thank you notes, envelopes (and maybe a few stickers?) handy in your home. Encourage everyone to write thank you notes whenever they feel grateful to someone for something. It could be to a sibling or parent, or a teacher, a neighbor or even the mailman.
In our digital age, receiving handwritten notes has become very rare which makes it special. Who doesn’t like to take a few moments to open an envelope, and read a note that thanks them for something they did or gave? Not only are you practicing the art of gratitude which is good for you, but you’re making someone else feel good.
Let your kids see you writing thank you notes, just as you encourage them to write their own. Pretty soon jotting down a quick thank you will become a habit. And what a great habit to have.
Well, there you go! Four simple ways for you and your family to practice gratitude together. Try one idea or do them all. See what works best for you and your family and then enjoy the benefits of a family that practices gratitude together.