Believe it or not, we are now in the month of November in this unpredictable year of 2020. I think we can all agree that when we think of November, gratitude and giving thanks is one of the first things to come to mind. And in a year in which we can quickly list things we have missed or lost, turning our minds and hearts to gratitude may be more important than ever. Gratitude is a value that can be life changing. It is a value I hope to plant deep into my children’s heart to help carry them through their childhood and into adulthood. Now is the perfect time to begin teaching the power of gratitude to your children.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough”
Family Gratitude Practice
It’s the month of November, the month of gratitude, and I think many of us have implemented some sort of gratitude practice or activity with our kids over the years. It is one of my favorite family traditions. Here are a few ways we have done it in the past or plan to do in the future:
- Gratitude turkey: Cut out a large turkey body and head, add some eyes, a beak and a gobbler. Cut out several large feathers in different colors of construction paper. Family members can write things they are grateful for and add to the turkey’s body throughout the month. This type of activity is my personal favorite for toddlers and preschool age. You can never be too grateful for Paw Patrol or snacks!
- Gratitude tree: Trace an outline of a tree trunk and branches on a large piece of paper or branches. Cut or print out leaves and label each leaf with something you are grateful for.
- Gratitude jar: As the month goes on, family members can add things they are grateful for on strips of paper to add to the jar. On Thanksgiving, everyone can take turns reading about the things for which everyone is grateful! Check out more Thanksgiving crafts here!
“It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful”
For older kids (and adults!) a journal is a perfect way to train your mind and instill the value of gratitude in your everyday life. At the beginning of this year, I bought a journal that included space to write goals, gratitude and memories for each day. The simple act of writing down things I was grateful for each day made a significant impact on my everyday life. Admittedly, as pandemic fatigue has set in, I haven’t kept up on this journal consistently. I plan to get back in the habit this month. It’s as simple as this:
- No need for a fancy gratitude specific journal (though those are fun if you want!), a simple notebook or piece of paper will work just fine. Each day, write three things you are grateful for and help your kids do the same. See how this practice changes you and your children’s outlooks throughout this month.
One lesson I learned from my mom is the power of a thank-you note. I remember several times throughout my childhood sitting down to write thank-you notes after birthdays, Christmas, or special occasions. I have tried to continue this with my own children as they learn to practice gratitude in their life. Here’s a way to make thank-you notes a habit in your family:
- Find a special box that can be placed in a good location in your home. Fill it with notecards, envelops and stamps so it is easy to access when a thank-you note is needed. Practice writing thank-you notes together as a family, maybe by designating Sundays as a day to show your gratitude to others.
I have seen firsthand the power of gratitude in my daily life. It has lifted my spirits when I needed it, reminded me of my daily blessings, and helped me gain perspective in trials and difficult times. Gratitude is a value that has the power to make an impact on our lives and the lives of our kids!