With Thanksgiving fast approaching, Aha! Parenting has 13 tips to help parents make gratitude a more regular habit for their families.
1. Count your blessings (literally)
How to do this: Have every member of the family say something they're grateful for. If this is incorporated into your family's dinner or bedtime routine, it will become easier to remember.
Why do it: Focusing on the good things in your lives provides greater life satisfaction than focusing on complaints, according to a study by gratitude researcher Jeffrey Froh.
2. Make a gratitude jar
How to do this: Find an empty jar in your house and designate it as the gratitude jar. Inspire your children to savor special moments as they happen and to write gratitude notes themselves by pausing in the moment, writing down what you're grateful for – maybe your kids are making up after a fight or your daughter remembers to share or your son sets the table before you ask – and putting your note in the gratitude jar. Set a time to read the gratitude notes out loud to the family, perhaps during a holiday.
Why do it: Families have hundreds of interactions a day, and we're often too busy to stop and savor the good ones (even as the bad ones tend to stick in our craw). The gratitude jar has a double impact, helping us remember the good stuff as it happens and reminding us later, when we read the notes down the line, of how much good stuff there is.
3. Take pictures
How to do this: Take a photo every week of something you appreciate. It could be a sunset or an almond tree in bloom, or a picture of your kids reading quietly on the couch or building a spaceship together. Show your kids and discuss what makes it gratitude-worthy.
Why do it: You know what they say: A picture is worth 1,000 words. Sometimes seeing a photo makes things memorable in a way that words don't.
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