One Child at a Time

I sure wish I’d known about gratitude affirmations when I was raising my own kids. It makes a huge difference in my life to be in the habit of listing, at least in my head, things that I’m grateful for. I’m not going to spend time explaining this practise, because it’s gradually coming into the consciousness of people who are trying to find ways to be happier, increase their peace of mind, or make changes in their lives. There are a ton of books and videos and other materials that can help you understand why they are important. But I am going to share one idea with you that might be helpful if you have a young person in your life who listens to you.

Last spring I started helping my granddaughter, who’s now 5, to start thinking of things she’s grateful for (or “glad” about). I got a pretty notebook and every time she visits, we take turns listing something we are grateful for, and I write them down.
IMG_1814At the time we started, her parents were splitting up, and she was starting to spend time at both houses. I hoped that helping her focus on good things might make it a little easier to go through these changes.  In the beginning, I bribed her with stickers, but she got over wanting to do that pretty fast.
IMG_1815Now we’re getting more detailed in our conversations, and we’ve gotten past the “I’m grateful we’re almost done with these so we can have a story,” stage.
A couple of weeks ago I took her to the Nature Center where we hiked and then sat and talked about what we were thankful for. She got to the point where she was telling me what to write, and then when we hiked back to the car we had to sing a made-up song about all the things we liked about that day!
IMG_1816She thinks what we are doing is pretty special, so much so that she wants me to bring this book to our Thanksgiving dinner to show everyone what we’ve got so far. Maybe I’ll see if anyone else wants to write in it.
I think as this develops it will be really helpful to her as she grows up. I plan on adding to it gradually, asking “What is the best thing that happened to you today?” when I see her during the week.
So if you see the value in this, share this idea around. Can you imagine if most families took time to talk to their kids about the best thing that happened that day? And if every kid counted 5 things they were grateful for every day? Shoot, if just the adults all did this, it would change all kinds of things.

I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving, whether you are celebrating the holiday here in the USA, or not.

Jeanne

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10 responses to “One Child at a Time

  1. I love the ‘thankful’ sharing with your granddaughter. It is so much better to concentrate on the positive than the negative. I’m sure this builds character when kids see they have a choice and teaches her which way is better. I’m blown away with this idea and will try to incorporate into my relationships with my granddaughters.
    I’ve started journals for my grandkids but haven’t been consistent ’cause life gets in the way (I’ve had stretches I would like to paint over). When they make memorable statements or special happenings occur: dental appointment, lost tooth/teeth, first love (grade ONE), bad day, unexpected occurrence. 🙂

  2. What a lovely gift you are sharing with her – time together, spent thinking of, talking about, writing down the good things! It’s a fabulous idea.

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