Research has shown that consciously focusing on gratitude can improve physical and mental wellbeing and enhance empathy. This year especially, it may help us remind ourselves of the small and large daily pleasures that we are thankful for. Below is a simple activity that you can do with your kids leading up to Thanksgiving, or throughout the year!
The gratitude jar only requires a few ingredients: a jar (a box can also work); a ribbon, stickers, glitter, or whatever else you like to decorate the jar; paper and a pen or pencil for writing your gratitude notes; and gratitude!
Once you have made the jar, think of things throughout your day that you are grateful for (it can be as little as one a day!). It can be something as benign as a “thing” like favorite food you ate that day, or as grand as someone’s action that made you thankful like “I’m grateful when Johnny helped me clean up today”. Do this every day and write down what you are grateful for on little slips of paper and fill the jar.
Over time, you will find that you have a jar full of a myriad of reasons to be thankful for what you have. It also will cultivate a practice of expressing thanks. The notes can be read in certain increments, or when you or your child need a pick-me-up. They can be read as a family, or alone. Your family can shape this tradition however you’d like!