Gratitude Checkup #1: A Family Gratitude Journal

Monday November 1, 2010

Are you thankful? This is the month for it, you know.

Can you increase your gratitude – and your family’s?

I’d say definitely. We’re thankful when we realize and appreciate what we have. And too often, we’re just too busy or too hassled to contemplate what we have and see the blessings there.

So take time this month to contemplate what you have and encourage your family to do the same.

Consider a Gratitude Journal. It can be a pretty journal that you buy or fashion, or it can simply be a notebook. Label it and put it on the kitchen table with some pens and crayons. Encourage everyone to contribute to the journal when they’re struck by something they’re thankful for – big or small.

If you have a hard time getting started, you can label a few pages to get things going. Here are some ideas:

Use the alphabet. Put an A on one line and skip a few, then a B on one, etc. List A’s and B’s you’re thankful for, continuing through the alphabet. This is a great activity for your young readers.

Use pictures – photos, cut outs, or child-created drawings. Have a picture of something you’re thankful for? Tape it in. Let your children find pictures from magazines of things they’re thankful for, and add those. Encourage them, though, to see beyond "stuff." Their pictures can be symbolic -- a heart for love, a smiling face for jokes or laughter. You or your teens or your little ones may want to get artistic in the journal – go ahead!

Label pages with the five senses. On one page, write “I’m thankful for the things I see…” and leave space for family entries. On another, “I’m thankful for the things I hear…” Don’t forget smell, touch, and feel.

Highlight the big and the little. Make an “I’m Thankful for the Little Things” page and an “I’m Thankful for the Big Things” page.

Encourage thoughtfulness. Especially if you have older children, make an “I’m Thankful for the Gratitude Journal Because…” page. It’s a great place to list what you learned through the Gratitude Journal.

Support thankful actions. Title one page "Ways to Show My Thankfulness." Entries can be as simple as saying thank you for something specific to writing a thank you note to someone.

Be sure you date the journal. It’ll be great to look back upon one day.

That’s my first idea for encouraging thankfulness in your family. You’ll hear more ideas throughout the month.

Have you ever used November to encourage your family’s gratitude? What worked for you?

Interested in a giveaway for my book? See Sunday's post below.


Diane said...

The journal is a great idea. thanks for sharing! :O)

alicia said...

Love this idea, Laura! I am really working on counting my blessings rather than whining- this is the perfect motivator to keep that going!

Anonymous said...

I've been keeping a gratitude journal myself, but never thought to have a family gratitude journal. This is such a lovely idea, and one that I think I'm going to try once my son's just a bit older.

Nancye said...

What a wonderful idea! Sometimes it can be so easy to focus on what's wrong in our lives. This can be a way to appreciate what is good in our lives.

Karen said...

Laura, those are great suggestions. You always inspire me to do better. Thanks!

Lisa notes... said...

I love your idea of a gratitude journal, Laura. Wonderful for any age!

Trisha said...

Great idea! We do something similar with our Ebenezer box.

Faith said...

great tips here! i might use one of them i the classroom this year!

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