Gratitude Journal Ideas
My greatest responsibility as a mother is to raise confident, resilient, kind and grateful kids. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job or completely screwing my kids up.
Can you relate to this feeling?
Luckily, after two years of using a gratitude journal for kids, my daughter is continually reminding me that we are doing something right.
My oldest daughter is a highly sensitive and anxious child. She struggled a lot with worries, social situations, and school when she was younger. Like most parents, I have made a lot of mistakes as I’ve learned how to parent her and acknowledge her overwhelming feelings. Over time I think I finally have it mostly figured it out. I’m happy to say I’m starting to see the results of all the work we are doing together to help her develop a positive, growth mindset.
How do you raise a child with gratitude?
Our experience using a gratitude journal for kids
The biggest change to my daughter’s mindset has come from practicing gratitude daily. When my daughter was seven I purchased a gratitude journal on Amazon. When I first tried using it with her she wasn’t really interested, but I continued to ask her each night and over time it became part of our evening routine. We enjoyed talking about what we were grateful for together and it helped us connect at the end of a long day.
It wasn’t until we stopped using the journal that I really realized what an impact it was making. We filled the journal and I neglected to get a new one right away, so our routine quickly stopped. Over the next few months, I noticed my daughter’s mindset becoming increasingly negative and anxious. Having anxiety comes with a lot of ups and downs, but one day it clicked – we stopped our gratitude routine! Ugh!
When we started our routine again I noticed a change in just a few weeks. She was able to be more positive and appreciate something each day. We were connecting more and I was giving her time each night to talk one on one. I know it sounds crazy, but that simple, five-minute practice has made such a difference in her mindset.
How do you start a gratitude journal for kids?
I’m so passionate about using gratitude journals with kids that I started creating my own journals called Thankful Thoughts. It’s my dream to share these journals with children all around the world. I want every family to experience the connection and positivity of using a gratitude journal.
When I created Thankful Thoughts I wanted something a little different than what was out there. I created a simple journal that would allow kids to not only think about gratitude but also express the positive and negative feelings they are having each day. My generation was often taught to keep our feelings to ourselves. As an adult, I realize that it’s so important to acknowledge our children’s feelings no matter how big or small they may seem to us. Teaching children to identify and express their emotions as they talk through their highs and lows of the day will help them build a strong social-emotional foundation.
What do you write in a gratitude journal?
Thankful Thoughts has the following gratitude journal prompts:
- What are you grateful for?
- Today’s highs
- Today’s lows
- A question that changes each day
The last question of the journal asks a different question each day. These questions encourage kids to think about something they may not have and prompt discussion between parents and kids.
Why practice gratitude with your kids?
Having a daily gratitude practice has many benefits. It’s amazing what just five minutes a day can do for your mindset.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, here are more reasons why gratitude is important for kids.
- Makes you more optimistic
- Improves self-esteem
- Reduces aggression and frustration
- Increases empathy
- Improves sleep
- Improves relationships
- The awareness of what we are grateful keeps us from wanting more all the time
- Makes you able to cope with stress more effectively and recover from it
- Grateful people are kinder and more generous to others
Small things make a big impact
I will always worry about being a good mom, but I feel confident that our daily gratitude practice is having a big impact on my children. We all look forward to ending our days curled up on my bed with our journals. There’s nothing better than hearing your child tell you that she’s grateful for her sister, her friends or something as simple as the trees.
You’ll look forward to hearing what your kid’s highs of the day were and feel joy on the days they tell you they didn’t have any lows. Some days you may feel sadness or anger over what happened during the day, but you’ll feel grateful for spending the time to slow down and talk about it with them. You’ll be curious to hear what the question of the day is and may feel perplexed, proud, or laugh at their answers.
There may be days they don’t feel like talking or they’re too tired to answer. Those are the days we put the journal away and try the next. Enjoy this time with them, encourage them, but don’t push them. You’ll be glad you did!
Free printable gratitude journal pages for kids