There’s almost no end to the positive benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.There’s almost no end to the positive benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.
Keeping a gratitude journal encourages you to view the world through a more optimistic lens. It habituates the grateful mindset, helping you notice opportunities to be appreciative throughout your day. It increases empathy, modesty, and self-awareness. It keeps you mindful and present.
And what about the physical benefits of gratitude? There are quite a few:
- Improved sleep
- Improved cognitive function
- Decreased anxiety
- Decreased depression
- Decreased chronic pain
- Decreased inflammation
Starting a gratitude journal is a surefire way to promote more gratitude, and puts you on the path to greater health.
So, wouldn’t it be great if you could get your kids in on the gratitude action?
The good news is: you can! And it’s easier than you’d think.
9 Ways to Get Your Kids to Use a Gratitude Journal Everyone knows kids can be finicky on the best of days, so how will you be able to convince them that keeping a gratitude journal is a good idea?
The trick is turning the activity into a one they’ll want to repeat. And the best way to do that is to make the act of gratitude journalling as engaging and entertaining as possible.
1. Let Your Kids Pick Their Journal If your little one has a journal they love because they picked it out themselves, they’ll be all the more inclined to use it!
This may mean an ornate superhero themed notebook, or a leather-bound embossed journal from your local bookstore — but hey, if it works, it works!
Or, if you’d like to turn the activity into a craft, why not head out to your local discount store, and pick up a few blank notebooks along with some craft supplies? When you get home, you can decorate the front of your gratitude journals together to create something totally spectacular, creative, and unique.
2. Set a Schedule This is a crucial one — to ensure the best chances of success for your kids and their gratitude journals, you’ll need to adhere to a schedule.
The best way to form a new habit is to build a daily routine and stick with it. Inconsistency will do you no favors here. Set out a special time each day that will work best for you and your little ones to do a little journal ling. Then, do your best to stay consistent. Before you know it, the practice will become habit.
3. Keep it Simple and Small Asking too much too soon may backfire. Try to keep things simple at first. Ask your child to write one thing they’re thankful for each day.
It won’t be too hard for them to come up with one thing to write in their gratitude journals, and before long, they may soon begin adding more items to each entry! As one prompt leads to the next, they’ll soon be compiling gratitude lists of their own.
4. Get Visual While gratitude journals are a fantastic opportunity for your little one to practice their writing skills, don’t feel that their journals need to be limited to written entries alone.
Have them draw a picture of something they’re grateful for. Or ask them to sketch out a future event, trip, or occasion they’re looking forward to. Use colored pencils, markers, gel pens, or good ol’ fashioned crayons to get the job done. The variation from writing will likely pique their interest if you’re finding their enthusiasm has begun to wane.
5. Use Prompts Simply asking your child to write something they’re grateful for may be too abstract a concept for them to tackle time and again.
If they’re having trouble coming up with fresh ideas, try some helpful prompts to get the creative juices flowing:
- What’s your favorite holiday? Why?
- What’s your favorite subject in school?
- What season do you like best?
- What’s your favorite after-school snack?
- Write about your favorite toy
- What game do you like to play?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What’s your favorite song?
- What do you like most about yourself?
6. Create Fill-In-The-Blanks If you’re finding your child is struggling with their gratitude journal and each time you sit down to work on it, they wind up staring at a blank page for fifteen minutes, you may need to create some fill-in-the-blanks for them.
Fill-in-the-blanks are a lot less intimidating than a blank page, so the next time you sit down for your gratitude journal time with your child, try creating some on-the-page prompts for them, such as:
Today, I am grateful for ______________.I’m happy when _____________.The person I am thankful for today is _____________.I love it when I get to _____________.
These fill-in-the-blanks will serve as ready-made prompts for your little one to help guide them on their gratitude journal practice.
7. Use IncentivesOne of the best ways to get your kiddo to adopt a new habit or routine? Incentives.
Ideally, we wouldn’t need anything even remotely akin to bribery to encourage our kids to do something. But, come on. Let’s be real here.
Small incentives are a clever method to help support our children in tackling new and challenging projects. Keeping a gratitude journal may not be something your kids are naturally inclined towards. And that’s okay! That’s where incentives come in.
Purchase a small set of stickers your kids can use to decorate their entries with. Let them know that they can pick out one sticker per entry, and that they can have the sticker once their entry is complete.
Or, pick a slightly larger incentive to use at the end of a successful journalling week, like a new set of colorful markers. If you’re able to tie the incentive into the journal itself — something they can use that will pertain to the act of writing in their journal, all the better!
8. Try a Random Act of Kindness JournalIf you’re looking for a practical route to fostering gratitude and appreciation in your little ones, a Random Act of Kindness Journal is a clever way to go.
Your kids can use their journal as a means of recording the acts of kindness they complete. Decide how often the random act of kindness should be done, and then use the journal to record the events.
There’s plenty your child can do to help the community, or even lend a hand around the house. Here are some suggestions:
- Donate old books, clothes, or toys to a local shelter
- Read a sibling a story
- Rake leaves or pull weeds for an elderly neighbour
- Bake treats for a local bake sale
- Hold open a door for someone
- Return an abandoned shopping cart at the grocery store
- Complete a chore around the house without being asked
- Call a grandparent
- Write or draw a thank-you note for a public service worker
Encouraging an attitude of gratitude in your little one truly isn’t as hard as it may seem. The benefits they carry forward will enrich not only their lives, but the lives of all those they encounter. You’ll be empowering them with an invaluable life skill that will serve them well for many, many years to come!
Are you interested in trying any of these gratitude journal strategies with your child? Which do you think will work best for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
An Article Written by: Vrajan