How can parents encourage more gratitude at home? One easy suggestion is start a gratitude journal. However, it might be challenging to inspire your little ones to write anything at all, not to mention gratitude.
However, working together and scaffolding the steps of recording some of the things they’re most grateful for, can help your child take up the wonderful practice of gratitude journaling.
Step One: Select a special and well made journal with your child.
Go on a trip with your child to a local bookstore, an art store, a museum shop, or even check out Etsy together. Have them select a unique journal that they love. Or, create a journal from scratch with your child using one of the many tutorials on YouTube
Step Two: Pick out a unique writing tool.
Does your child love to use gel pens? Or, do they have a favorite color? Choose a fun fancy writing utensil to help encourage resistant writers.
Step Three: Set the stage by reading a story about being thankful with your child.
Choosing an appropriate story can serve as inspiration for child. It also can model how to give thanks and show them that others are also engaged in gratitude. Here’s a great list of books to choose from.
Step Four: Start small and work your way to writing.
Before jumping in to journaling, have a few conversations related to gratitude. Share what you are thankful for in your life and ask them what they are thankful for. At first they might be hesitant or only name a few things. However, with time and practice they will become more comfortable with identifying what they are thankful for.
Step Five: Set a time to practice giving thanks every week.
All family have weekly or daily routines. Decide with your child a time when they would like to practice giving thanks. Some families like to do it before bed. Others set aside a moment after breakfast on the weekends. Also, if your child is having an ‘off day’ you can encourage spontaneous reflection about gratitude as well!