An Attitude of Gratitude

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10 Ways to Practice Gratitude

To me, November represents the perfect month to focus on gratitude, and I hope these 10 ways to practice gratitude will inspire you.

Because, let’s face it, sometimes in the craziness of the day… kissing boo boos, wiping noses, calming fussies, correcting tantrums, sitting in school carpool, cleaning up spills, washing the 10th load of laundry for the day, helping with homework, playing referee to kid squabbles, etc., etc., etc…it’s easy to lose perspective.

So, fellow mommies – want to take a minute with me to think about what we’re most grateful for? (Currently, I am grateful for a quiet moment to write and a hot cup of my favorite coffee.  It’s the little things.)

I’ve actually written several blogs on the topic of gratitude…and have also found some amazing new ideas to share. Here’s my gratitude round-up for today!

Raising Grateful Kids

1. Sharing Gratitude with Kids

This blog talks about easy ways to share gratitude with our kids – and teach them about expressing their thanks.  

2. A Sweet Lesson for Kids on Giving Back 

Jen wrote this blog awhile back on how to help your kids hold a charity sale – and the importance of teaching your kids to give back.  Loved this post.

3. 6 Easy Service Projects to do With Your Kids

Here’s another Tiny Orange’s post that talks about six easy service projects that you can do with your kids – teaching them about the importance of serving others, giving back, and thinking about something bigger than themselves.

4. Jar of Thanks

This is such a cute craft idea to do with your kids –  a jar of thanks (which you write in each day in November) that can turn into a family “thankful” garland for your Thanksgiving table decoration.

garland-of-thanks

Sharing Gratitude

5. Random acts of kindness

Share your grateful heart and pay it forward!  I found some wonderful ideas onthis blogger’s “light ’em up” campaign to spread joy and kindness to family, friends, neighbors and strangers.  Check it out for some great ideas…or sit down with your family and make your own list!

6. Annual Gratitude Jar

I am obsessed with this idea I found on Pinterest via Slow Family Online, and will be doing this for 2015! It’s called a Gratitude Jar.

Starting on January 1st, each time something great/wonderful/blessed/happy/victorious happens, you (or your fellow family member) writes it down (with the date) on a little piece of paper, and places it in your designated “Gratitude Jar.”

Your whole family can watch the jar slowly fill to the brim all year…and on December 31st, you take out all of your happy thoughts, blessings, and grateful notes, and read them together as a family.  Love this.

7. Give Thanks Printable Quotes Collection

How cute is this?!  Our fellow Tiny Oranger, Suzanne, found this great idea on Simple As That – little (& FREE) inspirational quote cards, beautifully designed, and sure to perk you up and help remind you what you are most thankful for. Visit Simple As That for darling free printables like this….

Thankful Cards from www.simpleasthatblog.com

Choosing to be Grateful

Gratitude is a choice.  Here are some great ways to have (and keep!) a grateful heart:

8. Start a gratitude journal.

Write down five things (everyday) that you are grateful for and why.  The why is important – it will help you focus your thoughts.   Your older kids can participate, too!  Have them keep their own journal.  Buy one, make one, keep one electronically…whatever works best for you.  I like to write in mine after the kids are down and the house is quiet.

9. Keep a photo gratitude log.

I found this on Pinetrest and love the idea! Each day, you take pictures of different things/people/places you are grateful for.  Check out an example of a gratitude photo list on Positively Present.

10. Use gratitude word prompts.

And…let’s keep it real, mamas.  Some days (you know what days I’m talking about…), we all need a little extra reminder, right??  I found this list called, “I am grateful for…” on Fizzle Out.  These simple word prompts are great little reminders about what we can choose to be grateful for.  There are hundreds of gratitude prompt lists out there…just type in “gratitude prompt list” in your Pinterest or Google search and find one that you like.

What are you most grateful for?  How do you express your gratitude?  Teach your kids about it?  Any ideas you can share with us?  If so, please comment below!

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Sharing Gratitude with Our Kids

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Raising grateful, generous children is important to our family.  So we incorporate (okay, try to incorporate) ways to share gratitude with our kids – and teach them about expressing their thanks.  With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought I’d share my favorite couple…and in return ask what your family does!

Talk about gratitude openly, everyday

Sometimes, family dinners just do NOT happen during the week with our school, activities and work schedules. Sigh.  So during at least one car ride a day (because I swear, we spend at least three hours in the car on any given day…), whoever is in the car talks about what they’re grateful for.  This morning, my three-year-old enthusiastically announced:

Mommy, I’m thankful for:

Disneyland
Trains
Monorails
Lunch
Merry-go-rounds
Grass and trees
Roads
All of my toy cars
Bridges
Potties (yes, he actually said this!)
Restaurants
Phones
Horses
Zebras
Our trash cans

Obviously, he had a lot on his little mind!  But since we try to do this exercise everyday, it’s getting easier and easier for my kids to share what they’re grateful for. And the sincerity that follows is pretty adorable!

Pick a family service project to do once a month

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a handful of my favorite service projects to do with kids.  We try to do one project a month. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, and it’s hopefully teaching them to think about something bigger than themselves.

Oh…and those little magic words!

I keep seeing that cute little image floating around on social media that says, “Please and thank you are still magic words.”  I couldn’t agree more. Who’s with me?!

While we’re at it, I want to throw these also into the mix…

Excuse me.
I’m sorry.
I forgive you.
May I?  

Because I think teaching my kids to be grateful includes teaching them about respect.

So, we practice.  Everyday.  At home.  At Target.  At the park.  At meals.

We practice saying these little “magic” words while looking in someone’s eyes…and not at our feet.  Or the ceiling. Or our fingernails.  And, it’s hard.  Really hard sometimes.  Because my little ones don’t always have the patience (or desire) to use their manners.

But, we’re all a work in progress, right?!  And I think working with them a little everyday is (hopefully!) making a difference.  Fingers crossed, one day my three-year-old will say “Excuse me, please, AND thank you,” in the same breath.  Can you imagine?!

How do you share gratitude with your children?  Any favorite traditions or activities that work for you and your family?  Please share below!

Photo credit: Flickr, “Give Thanks”
LicenseCopyright All rights reserved by knitalatte11
http://resurrectionfern.typepad.com/resurrection_fern/2011/10/giving-thanks.html

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