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Ending the day with Gratitude

Bed time can be quite chaotic at our house: running, playing, reading bedtime stories and brushing teeth. But one thing that we keep consistent is saying the things that we were grateful for that day.

It was a year ago that I decided to try this, and I did not know if it was going to work. The concept of gratitude is already so abstract, how was I going to explain it to my 4 and 2 year

old? Much less ask them to write it out. But I was determined to give it a shot. In a world where we are surrounded by chaos, anxiety and stress, I wanted to give my girls the practice of being grateful for all the things in their lives, both big and small. Additionally, I’ve read countless articles about studies showing that cultivating a daily gratitude practice can help keep a sense of optimism, and creates good emotional resilience.

The best way to practice gratitude would be through journaling or a gratitude journal. I looked online for journals or gratitude journals for kids. There are many versions for adults, but there were none for kids in the way that I had envisioned: fast, easy, and for non-writing kids. So I designed one. Then I published it on Amazon and bought a copy for myself. =)

We began by incorporating writing in our journal as part of our nightly routine: Pjs, brushing teeth, a story and then “journals” as Penelope would say. The concept of the gratitude journal that I designed is quite simple: listing three things that happened to you that were awesome, stating what your mood was like for the day and writing out who you were kind to that day.

For mom, there are specific sections where to write out those gratitude moments; for the child there are boxes where you can draw the things that happened. This is particularly helpful if your child does not yet know how to write.

And so for many weeks every night we practiced gratitude by writing in the journal. The first few weeks there was a lot of “I’m grateful for the people around me, for my job, for my house”, but after a while you run out of things to be grateful for. Or so you think. I learned that if you dig a little deeper you can be grateful for the simplest of things such as a warm cup of coffee or clean clothes. And as time went by, my then 4 year old began writing the words on my side of the section and slowly improved her pen holding and writing skills.

I am so happy that we have incorporated this gratitude process into our routine. I know that there will be positive results from journaling about the highlights of the day as well as writing or drawing acts of kindness and why our life is great.

You too can make practicing gratitude part of your daily routine! You can find the “Mommy and me- 5 min a day gratitude journal” here.


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