The world can bombard us with negatives: frightening news events, inconsiderate people, disappointing interactions. But research is showing that cultivating a sense of gratitude can help us switch our focus and remind us of the good things happening in our life right now. Establishing a daily practice of identifying “What Went Right Today,” and feeling thankful for it, can do wonders for our happiness and health.
Let’s help our kids figure out how to do this too. Setting aside a little time to recall moments of gratitude associated with our daily life can help create a life filled with gratitude and thankfulness.
If your children are younger, how about a little quiet time with Mom or Dad remembering a few positive things from their day?
- Did something happen today that they handled well?
- Did someone say something that made them happy?
- Did they experience something exciting or see something new?
If your kids enjoy writing, how about a Gratitude Journal? There’s no right or wrong way to create one – whatever works best for you is your answer. Record somewhere between 3-5 things you’re grateful for on that particular day. You can write a quick list, or expand a little on each one.
- Artistic types might like to create a beautiful inspiring cover. Hobby stores will have a variety of notepad styles to choose from.
- Younger children may use notepads that have art paper – they can draw representations of what inspired their gratitude that day.
- Less-artistic, no-nonsense types may choose simple pocket calendars designed with weekly options. They can simply write their three things in that particular day.
- A really simple solution would be to grab a cheap spiral from the local dollar store and use it only for your gratitude recordings.
Remember, success comes from turning this new habit into a practice!
The whole process might only take a few minutes before bed. Sit still and think about how the day went. From start to finish. If you begin to think of something that went wrong, for this little span of time, put that aside for now and keep the focus on what went right. After walking through the entire day, list at least three things to be grateful for.
Our entire attitude is affected by what and where we choose to focus. Hasn’t everyone had the experience where all was well until ONE person did or said ONE negative thing? And then all the good was tossed out the window and replaced with an overwhelming feeling of discontent? So, instead of being swept away by the squeaky wheels in our lives, let’s get back in the driver’s seat. Let’s deliberately pull the positives to the front of our minds.
Kids need tools to help them cope with rough patches that inevitable pop up throughout life. Gratitude journals are a simple way to possibly set some new patterns.
Try this for a month with the whole family. See for yourself if it changes everyone’s trajectory. 🙂
And here’s a quick video from the Greater Good Science Center about teaching gratitude to children.