We are getting closer and closer to our Great Day of Gratitude on May 5th! Now that the gratitude train is going, what a great opportunity to explore being grateful with our kids in other areas of our lives. Here are a few things we are trying on at the moment to learn more at our house.
The Gratitude Growl and Howl What is the one thing you are going a little crazy for these days? It's easy to be thankful for the things that make us really happy or even just stuff we enjoy. Go around the circle and give a growl, a howl and then state what you are grateful for. Being silly as a parent sometimes unlocks the joy inside and invites kids to share (or laugh at you). We are grateful growling for wildflowers, berries, Pokemon cards, the computer and puppy dogs at our house.
The Manners Police Start young, before kids can even talk with please and thank you. Introducing the practice and gentle reminders send us back to the value we want to honor and instill. This helps us learn to be intentional in our thanks.
The Gratitude Tree Head out for a nature walk to search for a medium size branch with lots of tiny branches. Buy a simple clay or ceramic pot you can decorate or paint together. Use plaster of Paris or marbles/rocks to hold your "tree" in place. Every season decorate your tree with the things you are currently grateful for written on tiny paper leaves. In the winter, you can hang ornaments or colored balls with the words written on instead. Just like the seasons, life is cyclical, the leaves are bursting and other times the tree is bare. This is a good activity to mix creativity and revive the focus every now and then.
Quiet Thanks Doing acts that express gratitude anonymously can help kids discover that we can express our gratitude without the need for a return. Leaving flowers on doorsteps or writing a notes and hiding them for those we are thankful for to find can be really fun and kind of sneaky. Some children might prefer this way of being grateful.
Leaving Space for Need Usually when we have a hard time being grateful it is because we are in need of something ourselves. Kids (and parents) might need the space to express needs and invite help or empathy which in turn produces a new and different kind of gratitude.
What ways do you celebrate gratitude at your house? What has or hasn't worked for your family? Do share in the comments.