Having a regular time to express gratitude as individuals or as a family helps children and adults start habits that can truly make us happier and improve our health. Making something a tradition shows its importance and helps us remember to make time for it in our busy lives. Like anything, as we practice noticing what we are grateful for, it starts to come to us more readily.
Here are some gratitude tradition ideas. We’d love to hear from you about your experiences with gratitude traditions. Please feel free to share in the “Leave a reply” section at the bottom of the page.
Choose a time when it is easy to be quiet and focused—maybe the start of each meal or a special meal once a week, maybe before bedtime or first thing in the morning, maybe at a special stopping place during a regular walk.
If you are in a group, have each person take a turn saying what she or he is grateful for. This is a good opportunity for children to practice good listening skills, too. Make sure each person is finished before moving on.
Don’t worry if your child or an adult doesn’t have anything to say sometimes, or even a lot of times. Some people like to observe first. Others need to get accustomed to noticing what they feel grateful for. You can trust that by experiencing others express gratitude they will catch on.
Rather than sharing verbally, you or your family may prefer to have a regular time to write or draw in a gratitude journal. Choose what to share.
Express gratitude about the big and basic things in life. This will help remind you of all that you have when times are tough. “I’m grateful for my friends and family.” “I’m grateful we’re all in basically good health.” “I’m grateful for this home.”
Express gratitude about significant accomplishments and events. This will help you take in all of what has happened—graduations, beloved guests that have traveled to be with you, starting a new school year or activity.
Express gratitude about the simple things in life. These help you notice the joy that is always available—things like the bright color of a favorite flower, the sounds of birds singing, the fresh smell in the air just after a rain.