In this year of chaos and uncertainty, finding ways for my family and I to cultivate gratitude has become even more crucial to me. I think this year has been really hard for a lot of people. So, I want to remind myself and my kids that even during the most challenging times it is important to give grace and to remember to be appreciative for even the smallest of things. I started a family Thanks jar a few years ago and while I know it’s not a new concept. I wanted to share our family’s gratitude practice and prompts with you.
For the month of November, we each put a slip of paper in the jar at dinner time stating something we were grateful for that day. Now I’m not going to lie, every year when I bring out the Thanks jar my boys roll their eyes and sigh. The first couple days there’s usually a “but I don’t know what to write” complaint however, by the end of the week those tiny slips of paper have become habit.
Here are some prompts I give the kids if they become stuck on what to write:
- What is something good that happened to you today?
- Name 3 people you are grateful for.
- What is something you love about yourself?
- What is something you learned that you feel thankful for?
- What is something you appreciate about where we live?
- What is something you value in your friends?
- What is something you love about our family?
- What is something your grateful your grandparents taught you?
- Who gave you your most “prized” possession? Why is it your favorite?
- When was someone grateful for something you did? What was it?
Then on Thanksgiving after all of the cooking, eating and cleaning is done, we will slip into something comfy and pour out the Thanks jar. Those tiny slips of paper will spark conversations around kindness and gratitude. The best part is that we all learn a little more about each other and stories will be told that may not have been shared if we didn’t have the Thanks jar.
I find it the perfect way to begin the holiday season… and it segues quite nicely into Angela’s Random Act of Kindness Advent Calendar for the month of December.