We’ve talked before about the importance of gratitude when it comes to helping children with their emotional wellness. Expressing gratitude teaches all of us to concentrate on the positive and, as a result, feel happier and more fulfilled. And it’s so important to teach these life skills to our children as early in life as we can.
One great way to express gratitude is through gratitude journaling.
Why Your Children Should Start Gratitude Journaling
Journaling allows your child to express gratitude by remembering and being thankful for the people and things in their lives. This practice is proven to strengthen relationships, encourage kindness, and help your child maintain a positive outlook on life.
Journaling gives your child an outlet for their thoughts and feelings. And as a bonus, it helps them practice their academic skills such as writing, sentence structure, and spelling.
How to Help Your Child Start a Gratitude Journal
Get Your Supplies. Let your child pick out a special notebook and pen they can use for their gratitude journal. You could even simply find a plain notebook at a discount store and let your child decorate the cover.
Be a Role Model. Talk to your child about gratitude. Tell them what you’re grateful for and why. You should even get your own journal and practice gratitude journaling yourself.
And when you’re out and about with your child, take time to point out acts of kindness and fascinating things you see and feel. A smile from a stranger, a rainbow, someone holding the door open for you, the smell after fresh rain — these are things which should be noted.
Give Some Prompts. There are no real rules for gratitude journaling. Give your child some freedom to choose what works best for them. Some people like to write long sentences and really delve into what they’re grateful for. Others simply prefer to jot down one or a few words per line to summarize.
However, if your child needs a place to start, you may want to give them a prompt or two. You can use the same one every day or mix them up. Some examples of prompts include:
- I’m thankful for…
- Today was awesome because…
- I’m so happy I have…
- These people make me smile…
- Thank you for…
Make It a Habit. At first, it might be challenging to practice journaling every day. But, it’s important to do it regularly — even if that only means once a week or so. Set aside some time for you and your child, or the whole family, to journal together.
Even 10 minutes at a time is often enough to journal. And you may just see your child want to write in it at random times as well — every time something makes them smile.
Don’t Stress About It. As we said above, there are no real rules when it comes to gratitude journaling. While you may want to aim to think of five things a day, sometimes, you may only be able to come up with three — and that’s ok!
If you miss a day, don’t worry. You can get back to it when you can. This is supposed to make you happy — not stressed!
Contact Dolphin Kids™ For More Great Information
At Dolphin Kids™, we love seeing the positive changes which occur in kids after they start learning how to express gratitude.
We offer a variety of programs and summer camps which provide even more skills to help your child cultivate self-empowerment and to give them essential life skills they need for the future.