Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation for and willingness to return kindness. Over this month in particular as we approach and celebrate Thanksgiving, there is inspiration all around us to practice gratitude. Thanksgiving is an opportunity many take to celebrate family, friends, and the good that life has to offer. However, it doesn’t have to be just this month. Here are some simple ways that may help you keep it going all year and make giving thanks a part of your regular family life.
- Find the Good Each Day – During conversation at the end of the day (perhaps during meal time, bath, or bedtime), take turns saying at least one good thing that happened that day. Even if your child is young, modeling is very powerful.
- Create and Give – Work together to make a gift for someone. Brainstorm what they might like and use team work to create it. It is a great opportunity to take the perspective of another and put in effort to help bring happiness to them.
- Be Thankful – Write thank you notes or cards together. Even if your child is young, it exposes them to a small ritual that can have a meaningful impact. As your child grows and the practice continues, they will gain understanding and ability to participate more independently.
- Work Together – Have everyone participate in daily tasks and recognize the effort in the process, not just the end result. For example, “I noticed you stopped playing and took time to help me pick up your books. With your help, we finished cleaning up sooner and now have more time to play outside together.” The things you do for others and the things they do for you all take time and effort. Say thank you in a way that recognizes that.
Practicing gratitude might not always be easy, but the times it is hard may be when you need it the most. We hope at least one from the list helps you and your family carry on the Thanksgiving spirit throughout the year!