“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” Meister Eickhart
I’ve spent the last two days thinking and talking about best practices for raising gracious and grateful children as part of the segment I was on for our local morning news. This is a topic SO near and dear to my heart and there’s nothing I want more for my own children, and lucky for all of us that this is a hot topic in today’s parenting. There’s no shortage of resources out there!
My favorite way to practice gratitude is to take a few minutes out of everyday and mindfully focus on the good. There’s a couple of different tools to help you maintain your own gratitude practice, for yourself, and with your children. It’s important that I model this behavior to my children so it can become a part of their everyday life as well, and lucky for them at a much earlier age.
1. Keep a journal: We started writing in the I Like Books last year. It’s a very simple and sweet way to end the day with your children. It gives good prompts and has areas for the kids to draw and express themselves. You can take a few moments or you can spend a good amount of time with them. Here is a simple and lovely journal designed for adults. I personally think the key to journaling is to not over think it or make it more complicated than it needs to be. Not everyday needs to be a volume of gratitude, but we can always find (at least) one positive outcome from the day.
2. Read books: For kids, books such as All the World, a story I’ve talked about before, is a must on every child’s bookshelf. It’s beautiful written and illustrated, and just gives me such a sense of peace when I read it with my boys. Along the point of finding one positive thing to say, a friend just recommended Being Frank. It looks SO cute and it’s next on my list. For adults, I loved reading The Happiness Project, and I’ve just added The Gratitude Diaries to my cart as well. (This is becoming an expensive post!)
3. Apps: To be honest, I downloaded this app a while back and haven’t kept up with it the way I hoped, but reading my post on it brought tears to my eyes. I need to revisit this app! A quick search for gratitude apps will bring up the many options so if you are more of a digital person you can find the one that works best for you.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are (luckily!) so many incredible resources out there. Do you have a favorite? If so, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you all.
Author: Candace Thomas