Gratitude is Not Just on Thanksgiving: How to Practice Gratitude All Year Round

As Thanksgiving Day commences, many say thanks over turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time to spend with those you care for, remembering just how grateful you are to have loved ones in your life. When Friday 11/29 rolls around, that thanks is often times replaced by work or Black Friday shopping. The gratitude that was given for one day can easily be forgotten as the chaos of life returns. As parents we have to be mindful to model gratitude and thanks every day. Below are some ideas to practice gratitude as a family all year round:

1) Gratitude Jar: Each day come up with 1 thing that you are grateful for as a family. Write it on a small piece of paper, then fold and place it into the gratitude jar. At the end of the year, open up the jar and review as a family all that you have been thankful for.

2) Positivity Round Table: Every evening during dinner go around as a family and identify 1 thing that has been positive or has gone well during your day. Model for your children that even the smallest occurrence can be positive, such as waking up and having that warm cup of coffee in the morning before work.

3) Thank You Cards: Place a thank you card in your child's bookbag, on their bed, or near their spot on the sofa after times where they really excelled! Leave blank thank you cards in a spot in the house where everyone can see and use them. This reinforces the positive action that your child engaged in, while also modeling giving thanks to others.

4) Express Gratitude Spontaneously: When you and your family are engaging in something that you are enjoying, verbalize the feelings you are having--"I love seeing you two (siblings) joking around with one another!"

5) Rose and Thorn: Go around as a family and identify 1 positive and 1 negative that occurred during your day. When discussing the negative explore what could have made the feeling different.