Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more; it turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity; and it turns a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~ Melody Beattie
Gratitude provides the key to the door of abundance. Teaching our children the value of gratitude at an early age allows them to not only appreciate all that they have, but also see the beauty of life’s blessings. “Gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation that most people are familiar with. What many people do not know is that gratitude plays an important role in several historical movements and that gratitude is now becoming an important part of psychology research, and especially positive psychology research.” (https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/gratitude-appreciation)
Practicing gratitude has played a huge role, not only in my personal life, but how I have raised my children. Our family focuses on the abundance in our world, rather than the lack, which creates an abundance of love, joy, and prosperity.
We wanted to share with you 5 simple activities that you can do with your children encourage a constant state of abundance.
1. Nightly Thankful-fors
This is my absolute favorite and has had the most profound effect in our home. Each night before we go to bed, we each share 3 things we are grateful for (we call them thankful-fors in our home). It has now become a habit in our home and my kids remind me if I forget. At first it was your typical “things” of gratitude: family, friends, toys, etc. Then the magic happened! My kids expanded on their gratitude which led to conversations about the world, the heavens, our worldly possessions, society, and so much more.
Another spin that would assist with younger kids is to add “silly thankful-fors.” When my kids were younger, they would do their typical thankful-fors and then add one “silly one” which were simply silly sounds, almost like an alien language. We would love to giggle with each silly one and continue the fun with additional sounds. Why is this important you ask? Laughter is the ultimate form of joy so as you’re laughing with your kids, you’re imprinting a moment of joy, which their sub-conscious remembers. You’re showing them that a simple act of gratitude creates joy and love. Trust me, they will remember these moments.
2. Prayer or Meditation
I intentionally put both prayer and meditation together because each family has their own ways of communicating to their higher source. As we connect with our divine source and offer gratitude for all that we experience in our life, we become aware how truly abundant we are. Take a few minutes every morning and night (and through out the day) to offer your gratitude to your higher source. Teach your kids from a young age that as they experience something that brings them joy, they take a few minutes to say a prayer offering thanks. When instilled at a young age, it will become habitual.
Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. ~ Mother Teresa
3. Blessing Board
Post a place where your family can write down all of their blessings. We made a trip to the Dollar Store and grabbed a bulletin board and put it in our hallway, attached a pen and we were good to go! I encourage my kids to write down at least one blessing every day. I also encourage them to go there often to be reminded of all that brings them joy and love in their life.
Get your family and friends involved! Anytime you have a guest over, encourage them to also write down a blessing. You’ll be amazed at how many people get excited to share your board with you. I bet they’ll even take a few extra minutes to read what’s been written, therefore, creating additional gratitude based conversation in your home!
4. Gratitude Journal
Super simple! Get a journal or a notepad and write down at least one thing you are grateful each day. Just like the daily thankful-fors, you will notice that the beginning entries will be the typical gratitudes. Then, as they continue the exercise, they will expand on what they are thankful for. Encourage them to not repeat a gratitude until they run out of ideas (trust me, they will not run out!)
Plus “one-up” it by doing this activity as a family every morning. You have your thankful-fors and night, and do your journaling in the morning! Win-win all around!
If you’re looking for a daily guided journal specifically made for kids, you can check it out HERE
I created this journal because I couldn’t find anything like it on the market. The art of writing is not taught like it used to be…so instead of wishing and hoping something would come along, I created it. There are 60 pages of guided entries, activities and more, specifically written for kids ages 6-13. Additionally, there is also a section for them to explore their emotions with release techniques.
5. Love Jar
If you’re like me, we have our occasional (okay…daily) bickering going on in our home. One of my greatest motherhood realization was acknowledging that my kids did not get to pick their siblings…which at times creates a little frustration in the home.
So we created the Love Jar. It was so successful in our home that I put together a little step-by-step instruction page so that you can easily re-create it in you home. Imagine the joy in your home as you assist your children in expressing their love through written words. Think about their faces as they open up a little note from their sister moments after fighting to realize that no matter what, they have each other. See that in their moment of frustration, that instead of staying in that space, they instead grab a little piece of paper and write down one thing they love. Over time, do you see that creating habits of flipping the switch in their mind?
Click on the picture to grab your own handout to recreate this activity!