This holiday season is going to be filled with tough choices and changes for families. To make the best of the challenges we are facing, we can choose to focus on the good that’s still all around us. When we reflect each day on our blessings, we’ll be much happier overall.
The holidays are a time when gratitude is front and center. It’s been proven that gratitude helps kids (and adults) stay resilient through tough times. Positive results range from experiencing more positive emotions to sleeping better. Remember to treat your body well and it will return the favor.
Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to start practicing.
1. Start a gratitude journal.
From now until Thanksgiving, have your child write a sentence or draw a picture of something they’re grateful for each day. Challenge your child to be specific – the more they pay attention to details, the more they’ll start to notice the positive things in their life. Lead by example and share your personal gratitude entries to each other daily.
2. Make a gratitude chain.
This type of gratitude journal gets the whole family involved. Set up a station with precut construction paper, markers, and tape or glue in a high-traffic spot in your home. Ask family members to pause every time they walk by to jot down why they are grateful and then fasten it as a link on the chain. On Thanksgiving, plan “gratitude breaks” to read each link out loud.
3. Write or draw Thanksgiving cards.
If you or your child is sad about not getting to. see a family member or friend this holiday season, channeling these feelings into writing or art can be soothing for them and it’s a sweet surprise for the recipient.
4. Instead of prank calls, make “thanks” calls.
Sit down with your family in the days leading up to Thanksgiving to make a list of people who’ve done something nice for them lately. Then set aside time to call and say thank you to those people.
5. Send virtual care packages.
Social distancing and self-quarantining mean you can’t get together to hug in person, but you can send the next best thing: a bunch of photos and silly video clips that will spark a smile.
6. Decorate the front yard with thank-you signs.
From essential workers and healthcare heroes to teachers and neighbors, so many people deserve a special thank-you. Get your family involved in drawing or painting signs to decorate your yard this Thanksgiving.
7. Try a twist on kindness rocks.
Have your family paint rocks with images and messages that inspire gratitude. Take a walk and set the rocks in special places to surprise other hikers on the trail.
8. Find a way to give back.
Talk to your family about the causes that matter to them, and the people or things in the community that they’d like to help. Reach out to organizations to see how you can give back, whether that means making a donation or volunteering in a way that’s safe during COVID-19.
9. Five a day.
Reach out and appreciate five people each day. A simple thank you for being my friend or thank you for being an awesome teacher. It’s a great feeling for you and the recipient.
Yes, this pandemic holiday season may have its challenges. But with some practice, your family can still put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving – and maybe even create a gratitude habit that will help your family see the bright side of life. Gratitude has so many health and life benefits. Here’s a great link explaining the benefits of expressing gratitude.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts about gratitude. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please share it! Remember sharing is caring.