Sadly there’s so much unrest in the world. We turn on our televisions to catch the latest breaking news. We are left to wonder, how do we begin to be a part of the change? A whole generation is used to having information, services, and products available immediately. How do we re-educate our youth? It’s time to take a moment, be thankful for the small things. We are all guilty of taking things for granted. We came up with a family project, challenging ourselves to 30 Days of Thankfulness.
30 Days of Thankfulness | Family Project
Do this family project throughout the year, because you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving or the holiday season to celebrate thankfulness. Random acts of kindness are a great way to teach your children about giving. However, we have to balance that with a sense of gratitude.
Related: More information on gratitude for kids
Gratitude is so powerful! People that regularly practice being grateful for stuff (noticing and reflecting upon things they’re thankful for) reap tons of benefits!
Benefits of Gratitude
- more positive emotions
- they feel more alive
- sleep better
- they express more compassion and kindness
- they even have stronger immune systems
The best way to practice gratitude is to notice NEW things you’re grateful for every day. This practice actually causes your brain to be on alert for fresh grateful moments. It’s fun to make a game out of noticing new things to be grateful for each day. There are two free printables available, a pre-filled version (with 30 things to be thankful for), and a blank one. I encourage you to print both.
Get Some Inspiration from the Pre-Filled Printable Gratitude Schedule
Sit down with your children, it doesn’t matter if they are toddlers or teenagers. Talk about some of the things listed in the pre-filled version. What are some of their favorites? Ask open-ended questions to continue a fun discussion, but don’t be surprised if their answers are more insightful than your own. Their minds are young and see the world so differently.
Here are some other things to be thankful for:
- A comfy couch or chair
- Hot showers
- A cup of hot chocolate
- Teachers who don’t give homework
- Your favorite sweater
- Your favorite memories
- Blowing bubbles
If you have older children, challenge them to fill out their own list. However, make sure to keep one to work on as a family. We can all find things we’re thankful for that we haven’t thought about before. This is such a great project to do as a family or for each individual person. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this turned into a beautiful habit for each family member?
Why 30 Days of Thankfulness?
Like any good or bad habit, it usually takes about 30 days for it to sink in. 30 days kinda tricks your mind into forming a new habit because one month doesn’t seem so long. And when the time is up, you’ll be closer to making a permanent change. Besides, being thankful and discovering the blessings isn’t a terrible habit to develop. Right?
On days, where my daughter starts a streak of complaining, we usually stop and ask her to tell us 5 things that she’s thankful for. But, it’s easy for us to do the same thing when we run into challenges. Haven’t you run into a few friends that constantly unload all the things that are going wrong in their lives? Yes, I’ve run into them too. I have to bite my tongue to avoid asking them the same question I ask my 9-year-old. Maybe you can print out a sheet for them too!
Gratitude Prompts You Can Use Daily
Sometimes it’s not easy to find new things to be grateful for, especially when you’re just starting a gratitude habit. Gratitude prompts are super helpful when you just can’t think of what to write about. It is so easy to get caught up in the negativity of the world and we naturally tend to be more negative when that happens. So gratitude is a wonderful thing to add to our daily habits.
A few gratitude prompts to get your creative juices flowing:
- What is something you wished for years ago that you have now?
- What is one good thing about where you live?
- Write down something that made you laugh recently.
- Name a tradition you love and look forward to each year.
- List the best 3 things you’ve eaten this week.
Gratitude Beyond 30 Days
It’s just a printable! Yes, it is, but can you imagine looking back and reading through all of them? Maybe young Jaxon was thankful for warm chocolate chip cookies and milk. Suddenly, you blinked, teenage Jaxon is thankful for getting into college. Heartstring, oh yeah I pulled them. This family project will go beyond the 30 days of thankfulness if you let it. They will create years full of memories!
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”
So, print out your 30 Days of Thankfulness worksheets (pre-filled and blank) and start a fun and memorable family project. The time spent together and the lessons learned are worth it. You could also get creative and add a picture here and there to make it even more special. And if you bind all the sheets into a binder, it can serve as a type of time machine. Trust me, the kiddos grow up so fast!
More Creative Gratitude Ideas
1. Gratitude Journal
There are other ways to add gratitude into our daily lives and the benefits can be so powerful! One excellent way to add gratitude into our day is to start a gratitude journal. Amazon has many different ones, but even a notebook would work great! Every day, write out 5 (new) things you’re grateful for… in the evening, you can even reflect on your day and write out something great that happened to you. OR write about something unexpected and you’ll feel the benefits because gratitude actually changes the way our brains are wired!
2. Random Acts of Kindness
Did you know that doing random acts of kindness actually helps you live longer? This is proven by science, plus it helps to lower stress and anxiety and can boost our self-confidence as well. How cool is that? This not only benefits us, but it also helps other people feel good as well. Just focus on bringing happiness to others. You never know; you may be the ONE bright light in their day.
3. Thank-you Notes
Write a thank-you note to someone every day. OR write a thank-you letter to someone you are grateful for but never thanked them. Wouldn’t that brighten someone’s day to know they are appreciated? You can choose to mail these to the people they are written to or not. It will still benefit you, but it would be so incredible to know you made someone smile. Who has made an impact on YOUR life?
There are so many ways to add gratitude to your life.
Things to DO to Feel More Thankful Every Day
Have you ever wondered HOW to feel more grateful every day? You know, when life just gets in the way and things get frustrating, there are things you can do to help improve your mood and attitude. When you improve those, gratitude is much easier to experience. In our busy world, it’s easy to get all caught up in the craziness and lose track of what’s important.
Here are some things we can include in our lives that should help us be more happy and grateful:
- Avoid looking at your emails first thing in the morning
- Pay your friend or co-worker a compliment
- Take a walk outside and breathe in the fresh air
- Meditate (even sitting quietly for a few minutes is highly beneficial)
- Add self-care to your routine (do something nice for YOU)
- Pay it forward for someone
- Do something fun (maybe something you stopped doing because you didn’t have time)
- Watch the sunrise or the sunset
- Take ME time (spend 1 hour just for yourself)
- Use kind words with yourself
- Put on some music and dance around like nobody is watching
- Do some arts and crafts
- Go fishing if that’s what you like to do
- Read a book
- Go for a drive in the country
- Go sit by a stream or the ocean and listen to the sounds
- Start a journal
- Write nice letters to yourself and save them
- Give yourself a compliment for a change
Think about what gives YOU joy and makes you happy. It’d be fun to make a list of things that you love to do, or that you used to love before you stopped doing them. Then, try to do one thing on that list every day. What are some things that bring a smile to your face and light you up? Let’s do more of those things starting with 30-days of Thankfulness.
Pssst…while we usually think about being grateful around Thanksgiving, this project is great any month of the year!
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