This week our camp theme was gratitude. At Camp Gratitude we made mini gratitude journals. When children think of things they are grateful for it activates the calming part of the nervous system. This helps children to feel not only calmer, but happier. With school getting ready to start, now is a perfect time to make the gratitude journal a healthy habit. Every morning, before school, have your child write or draw one thing he is grateful for in a journal or on the bathroom mirror. What a great way for a child to start, not only their day, but their new school year!
Here are a few prompts to get you started. Ask her to write or draw about:
- A person you appreciate.
- A place that makes you happy.
- An item you love (e.g., backpack, waffles, bike).
- A skill or ability you are awesome at.
- A person who makes you laugh.
- Your favorite song.
- Something that you accomplished that made you feel good.
- A sport or hobby you enjoy.
- A pet you love.
- A teacher who showed you kindness.
Learning to be grateful helps children to develop executive function skills, which are higher level cognitive skills needed to self-regulate. Being grateful increases mindfulness and compassion for others. Being grateful can shift your child’s mood and enhance her overall well-being.
What to Say
- Did you know that practicing being grateful can make you feel happier and healthier?
- Each morning think of one thing you are grateful for and write or draw it.
- Notice how you feel.
Check out our mini gratitude journal from Camp Gratitude.
Daniel, T., Mindfulness for Children. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2018