Get out, moving and active! The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley research shows that “people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (sic); they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.” Here are a few ways to get you and your kiddo’s gratitude groove into gear for November!
- Get thinking and crafting with handmade compliment cards! This craft can be as simple as an index card with a handwritten note about why you appreciate the person. Include anyone and everyone you’re grateful for: teachers, cashiers, grandparents, friends, and your favorite barista! Printable templates are also available if you want to print, decorate and leave them on mailboxes, inside library books, or bathroom mirrors! Take time to think of a message or affirmation and enjoy spreading love and gratitude throughout your community.
VOLUNTEER (IN YOUR OWN WAY!)
- Helping your community doesn’t always mean spending time at your local homeless shelter or assisted living facility (though those are worthy of your time, too!). Choose ways to volunteer that ignite your child’s passions. Kiddoes really into animals? See if your local animal shelter needs any weekend assistance! Teens might do some pro bono babysitting for your neighbors. Don’t forget elderly family members or neighbors who’d appreciate afternoon cookies and visiting for a while. A phone call goes a long way! Try VolunteerMatch to connect with a cause that you need and needs you.
IN YOUR HOME:
CLOSET + TOY BIN OVERHAUL
- Clean out the toy bins, dressers, etc. with items you no longer love to use or wear. This practice will help kids get used to the idea of letting something go and passing it on to someone who may need it more. Make sure your kiddos come with you to drop off these items so you can explain why this is a deserving cause. New or gently used items can also be set aside as your family “gift bin” – for when you need a last minute birthday gift or thank you for a friend. It’s also a great time for you to exemplify for your children this practice: “Mom is letting go of things, too! I hope someone enjoys this gray sweater as much as I did.”
CRAFT YOUR GRATITUDE
- Many families have a yearly tradition to build on a gratitude tree – your base tree might be a chalkboard or dry erase board, a construction paper or paper bag base, or even real branches in a vase! Our favorite leaves include patterned paper cut outs or hand prints. Everyone can write something (or someone) they are grateful for and place it on the tree. Try it once a week, once a day, or as often as works for your family. Check out some amazing examples with pics HERE.
PRACTICE GRATITUDE OFTEN
- As parents, modeling behavior is a daily task. Saying “thank you” frequently or expressing why something is appreciated will help make gratitude a lifelong part of your children’s lives (Thank you so much for your help with the dishes, it makes me feel so great after all that work cooking dinner when we all pitch in together!”). Make it silly, too! Ask young kiddoes if they can explain the idea of gratitude to their stuffed animals or toys!