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Help your child a keep a gratitude journal

Kids can learn to be thankful by using a gratitude journal

Kids can learn to be thankful by using a gratitude journal

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? As in a place to keep a running list of things you are thankful for in your day? I have kept a gratitude journal on and off over the last decade. With all the stressful things happening in the world recently I am revisiting the practice. It helps me keep perspective of all the good things (and people) I have in my life. For me, when I see a list of good things that happened during the day, the small stuff like spilled coffee, or the guy that just ignored the stop sign on my kids bus seems less annoying. 

One evening as I was jotting down a few quick notes about my day I started thinking, what if my kids kept a gratitude journal? I talk to them often about gratitude and I ask them to list things they are grateful for at the end of each day. But would it help them be more grateful and even peaceful if they began keeping track of specific things to be thankful for? My guess is they aren't going to grow a deeper appreciation over night, but it may help set the foundation for positive daily reflection.

READ MORE: 5 essential G's for the holidays

According to Forbes it is scientifically proven that people who keep a gratitude journal are mentally healthier, are more resilient, have better self-esteem, greater empathy and can be less aggressive. It also helps people recognize others for their contributions and kindness. These are all things I want for myself and my kids.

Keeping a gratitude journal is easy and you won’t need to spend a lot to make one. You can go super simple and buy a pretty notebook, or get fancy with a 3-ring binder filled with drawing pages, writing prompts and blank pages for thoughts. Pinterest is filled with free printable gratitude journal pages you can create your own notebook with.  

To get started each day it might help for younger kids to have specific topics to to write about whereas older children may be able to run with a simple prompt of “Today I am grateful for ______.” And sometimes we all just need a little inspiration to get us stared. So here is a list of writing prompts that will help you or your child to focus on some things to be thankful for.

Today I am grateful for my friend ______ because _____.

Today I am grateful for my sister/brother because she ______.

Today I am grateful for my mom because she did______ for me.

Today I am grateful that my dad ______________.

Today I am grateful for my teacher because ________.

One really wonderful thing that happened at school today is _______.

One unexpected thing that happened today is _______.

One compliment I gave someone today ____________.

One nice thing someone said to me today is _____________.

What I love most about myself today is _________.

Today I smiled when I _________.

I felt really good when _____________.

Gratitude journals also provide a creative safe space for kids to doodle, draw out their thoughts, keep inspirational quotes in and write positive affirmations about themselves (almost like a diary but only for positive, happy thoughts). The ideal time to write in your journal is before bed, but really starting the day with gratitude can be great too. It isn’t about a perfect time of day, or cramming one more thing into your daily to-do list. Instead it is about making it at mindful habit to revisit the positive things that happened during the day. 

Have you tried using a gratitude journal before?

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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