Dear Dr. Robyn,
We would like to start some gratitude traditions in our home but we do not know where to start. Can you give us some ideas? Thank you in advance.
— Sue and John F, Seattle, WA
Dear Sue and John,
Creating gratitude traditions in your home is a wonderful way to teach your children to look for ways to show gratitude. In
an age in which society seems to yell “bigger, faster, more, more, more!” it’s important to slow down and simply appreciate our blessings.
Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude into your home:
(1) Attitude of Gratitude list or journal: Keep a public family list up on the wall or start a public family journal that allows family members to write (or draw) why they are grateful each week. You can then read (or show) the contents of the journal to everyone at the dinner table one night of the
week to honor both the one who showed gratitude and the one who deserves the recognition.
(2) Gratitude table: Go around the table before dinner and allow each person to explain why s/he is grateful. Who is s/he grateful for and for what is s/he grateful? This idea is simple yet effective.
(3) Create a gratitude calendar: If the gratitude table isn’t possible due to time or logistics, you can create a gratitude calendar which allows you and your family to write down one reason why you are grateful each day. At the end of the month, it’s fun to look back and see all the blessings at once.
(4) Give back: When someone helps you or your family, encourage your family to find ways to give back to that person. Did Grandma baby sit when you needed help? Ask the children to make her a card, plant a garden or find another way to show her gratitude. Did a teacher stay after school to help your child? Send in some extra supplies for the classroom, write a personalized thank you card or find out one of her/his favorite treats and send them along.
(5) Pay it forward: When we receive so many blessings, it’s wonderful to pay it forward to others who are in need. Create breakfast-to-go bags for the local food pantry, collect animal supplies for the animal shelter, donate family time to helping out the soup kitchen or organize a collection for your favorite charity or family in need.
No doubt your efforts will be appreciated!
Here’s to your success!