We all want to raise happy, healthy kids. Did you know that one of the keys to happiness and well-being is gratitude? It’s the month of November, and sometimes the words “thankful,” “grateful,” and “gratitude” get overused. But we can’t deny that this is a great time to help your kids reflect on all they have.
Sometimes you gotta think about it
The thing about being grateful is that it doesn’t always come naturally. In fact, for many people, it takes intentional inward reflection. Our society doesn’t exactly send the message to adults or kids that we are all blessed with abundance. Instead, marketers and advertisers often find a “pain point,” or something that the public will think they really need. This is especially true in ads targeted toward children. It is in this cycle of buying and then wanting more that we sometimes forget to look at what we have or what is good in our lives.
That’s why it’s a great idea to help your kids view their lives from a different perspective: one of gratitude.
Being grateful isn’t just good manners
Along with their daily dose of fruits and veggies, gratitude can help to make kids happier and healthier. In fact, gratitude has profound benefits for mental wellness. Those who are more attuned to the good present in their lives are also more likely to be happy and resilient in the face of difficulty. Feeling grateful can also help to boost self-esteem—something that is incredibly important for kids.
It doesn’t need to be boring
Just talking to our kids about gratitude, however, may not be as effective as creating something with them that helps them to express their feelings of abundance. Enter: the gratitude journal.
You have a variety of options when it comes to gratitude journaling with your kids. The ages of about nine and 10 are a great time to start talking to children about writing down their thoughts and reflections. If you have a kid who likes to craft, making a journal can be a fun project. However, if you’re short on time or have kids who are busy, purchasing one works just as well. Either a blank journal or one that already includes prompts can be a fabulous way to get started.
You may be wondering how you’re going to convince your offspring to write outside of school hours. The key? Keep it fun and simple! We have some great prompts for you that can not only introduce your child to the feeling of gratitude, but can also help you to learn more about how they experience life:
- What three activities do you enjoy doing the most?
- Name two friends you have made at school. What is your best memory with each of them?
- Who was the last person you said “thank you” to? Why did you say it?
- Do you have a teacher or school staff member you are grateful for?
- What was the last kind thing you did for someone else?
- How do you know others appreciate you?
- What does it mean to be grateful?
- What was one time you were overcome with joy or gratitude? How did you express it?
- Write a letter to your best friend about why you are grateful for them.
- What was your favorite part of today?
- What are you most grateful for during this time of the year?
- What are three ways you can show more appreciation to those you love?
- What is your favorite music to listen to? How does it make you feel?
- Name three accomplishments that have made you feel proud of yourself.
- Do you think everyone has a special talent? What is your talent that you are grateful for?
- What is your favorite book you have ever read? Why?
- Is there someone you look up to in your life (whether you know them personally or not)? How have they shaped who you are?
- When you think about someone in need, how do you feel? What do you think you could do to help those in your community?
- Do you like spending time alone or with others? What do you appreciate about that time?
- Did you receive a gift recently? How did that make you feel?
Whether gratitude has been a lifelong discussion, or you are just beginning to dive into the idea, these prompts can help you to create a fun dialogue with your kids about appreciation and gratefulness. Create a goal with them for their journaling. Would they like to do a daily entry? Or does weekly sound better? Do they want to try writing an entry every day for a year? No matter how you go about it, teaching your kids the beauty of gratitude is a great way to ensure their happiness.