I have many intentions for 2016 but zero resolutions. I hate that word; I just associate it with failed diets! My number 1 priority though is to focus on gratitude.
Gratitude is the cornerstone of happiness. We always think we will be happy when we get something or somewhere but regardless of what we desire if we don’t learn how to be grateful right now achieving them will mean nothing.
I want to learn to be grateful more but as part of The Contented Family project I want to help my kids understand the importance of gratitude too. I wrote a post when I started the project back in November 2015 about how practicing gratitude can feel like hard work when you are so busy with family life.
Here are 3 ways that I have already incorporated gratitude discussions into family life that take up no additional time or preparation.
- Gratitude breakfast – we take it in turns to share what we are grateful for.
- Gratitude bedtime – we think back on our day and feel grateful for the best bits.
- Gratitude journey – this could be on a walk or in the car and is particularly useful for me on the school run as I am usually frazzled and stressed.
At the moment I don’t have a routine but most days I manage to fit in a gratitude discussion. At first they didn’t really understand the concept, my blonde one is only 3 and can hardly even say gratitude. Yesterday though something amazing happened; as we sat in Tesco café in the middle of an exhausting 3 hour shopping expedition (I have no idea why it took that long we only went in for a few things), we had a gratitude break. My 6 year old said she was grateful for all the food and drink in our trolley and my 3 year old said she was grateful to be sitting in a café colouring with her family.
I nearly cried.
So I know it’s working and I will continue to talk about the importance of gratitude but here are two additional plans I have to make gratitude our central focus in 2016.
- Gratitude journals – For Christmas Santa bought my two older children a little Minion writing pad each. He didn’t pay a lot as he picked them up in Home Bargains but these were intended to be the girls 2016 gratitude journals. Ever since the Minions appeared on Pharrell’s Happy video my girls call the little yellow creatures Happy’s so these books felt perfect for the job. Unbeknown to me at the time of purchasing these (I mean when I asked Santa to purchase them), my husband bought me one too. It’s beautiful and definitely one of my favourite presents! I will aim to get these books out weekly, we can draw or write events from the past week, things we are looking forward to or even just record general things we are grateful for.
- The #365project – this is an awesome project which is growing into a global movement. The rules are simple; every day you take a picture of something you feel grateful for and upload it. Mine will be going on my Instagram. I will also share my favourite pictures on Facebook and Twitter (@contented82). I am so excited about this project, kids are so visual and it will be a great way to engage them further with the concept of gratitude. Check out some of the #365project’s amazing stories here.
On day 1 I took a picture of the view from my new attic window that wasn’t even there a year ago. I love just putting my head into the sky, even on grey days like today the Welsh mountains are always beautiful. My 3 year old said she was grateful of her ball and my 6 year old wrote that she was grateful for “evereting.”
Its a good start, I cant wait to see what amazing pictures we will all have by the end of the year.
Do you want to help your kids to be grateful in 2016? Do you think you need to practice more gratitude yourself? I would love to hear from anyone on a similar journey and if any of my tips come in useful, maybe you have some advice you would like to share with me. If you are signing up for #365 let me know where your sharing your pictures and we can go on this journey together.
Happy new year to you all, I hope you have lots to be grateful for.