5 Months of GratitudeAt the beginning of this year, we started a Gratitude Jar with our daughter. At first, we were writing on the paper for her, but she quickly asked to write them herself. In 5 months, we filled her first gratitude jar. And her writing and spelling has also improved dramatically.

Gratitude Tip: Children of any age can start a gratitude practice. The earlier we teach them to look at the world through the perspective of gratitude, the easier it will be for them to navigate the challenges that they will face throughout their lives. Imagine how our child could make such a difference in this world if they built their lives on a foundation of gratitude, starting today. Much like the famous Whitney Houston song, ‘I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.’

Is it easy to start a gratitude practice with our kids? Yes. Does it take time to do every day? Yes. Does it make a difference to them and to us? Absolutely.

Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate gratitude into our children’s lives. These can also be used in teaching situations and for our nieces, nephews and grand-children too.

1.Say thank you. This simple habit is often forgotten today or it is said without meaning or feeling. Help your kids to understand that giving thanks is more than just two little words, it can be very powerful and help them to attract more things to be thankful for in their lives.

2. Give things away. Our kids are often inundated by gifts, toys, presents and other items from family, friends and other well meaning people. Talk about being grateful for the abundance they already have and encourage them to give some of their things away to others who have much less to be thankful for.

3. Start a bedtime gratitude ritual. When my daughter was about 2 1/2 we started saying our ‘mercis’ before bed. She would tell us all of the things she was grateful for, that day, just before going to sleep. Now that she can write, as I mentioned above, we started the gratitude jar. This can work with most kids. Other ideas include a gratitude journal or even a sketch book for the artist in the family. Here’s a great gratitude journal for older kids (or adults).

4. Colouring. There are many beautiful options for colouring that include inspirational or bible verses. It’s a great activity that you can do with your child and helps everyone to focus on the message on the page, many that are related to being thankful or grateful.

5. Write thank you cards. This is somewhat of a lost art and it’s great to teach our kids about writing cards to give thanks. When you child receives a gift or a special experience from a grandparent or relative or even a friend, take a few moments to write a thank you card together. It’s an experience of gratitude that not only helps your child, but also warms the heart of the recipient.

What other gratitude habits do you have with your children? Those who are teachers, are there any gratitude rituals in your classroom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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