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Can we teach our kids to be grateful in times of struggle?

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

How can we introduce the practice of daily gratitude to our children?

My daughter gave me the “Start Today” journal created by Rachel Hollis for Mother’s Day this year and she has you start each day writing 5 things you are grateful for. In one of Rachel’s podcasts she talked about how these daily gratitudes are best kept to the simple things we can notice every day that we are grateful for. In other words, this is not meant to be a practice in finding huge, grandiose things to write down. The point is that when you start this daily writing, you may find yourself each day trying to find things that you’re grateful for so that you are prepared for your journal the next day. Especially when we are trying something new like this, we may think it will be difficult to think of 5 things, so I better start noticing what I may be able to write down tomorrow! What an awesome path to focusing on the good things in our life every day!

In my "Jump Into Joy Workshop", we introduce girls to the idea that in times of struggle or conflict, we can choose to take a moment to interrupt our negative thoughts or experience by thinking of things to be grateful for. It was so cool to hear the girls discuss these positive things in their lives with each other. When you discuss this with your children, write them down together. Start a journal where these positive things, ideas or people can be referenced when you need these reminders. A fun activity to do together is a “Gratitude Jar”. You can write gratitudes on colorful slips of paper to be collected in any type of jar that you could also decorate together. Keep it in a central place in the home for anyone to pull from when they need a positive reminder of all we have in our life. 

In my workshop, we also discuss telling important people in our lives that we are grateful for them and ask how they think it would make them feel? One girl proclaimed that her mom would be so surprised and elated to hear such a thing from her! We saw such joy on this young girl’s face as she thought about how happy this would make her mother. 

How about talking about being grateful for ourselves and the gifts we have to offer the world? Ask your child to think of some of their special talents, personal traits or abilities. We all want our children to realize how amazing they are. When we help them to recognize their natural gifts and identify ways to share these gifts with others, they create a flow of positivity in their life.

So, 5 things today I am grateful for? 

1. My brisk run this morning

2.My daughter getting a job interview

3. It's not raining

4. My leftover stew I made with my daughter last night

5. I got my daughter’s laptop to work just by restarting it 😊 after I was told I was better off getting a new one since Safari wasn’t working

What is a gift I have to share with the world? My compassion for others and my passion to help inspire my fellow humans to realize they do have a choice to create their own happiness in this crazy life.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am grateful for all of you!

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