Inside: How you can get kids involved with gratitude practice and a review of My Happy Journal
From my own daily ritual of writing down the three things I am grateful for right there in that moment, I know the impact it can have on my day. By recognising the things that made me smile, the things that lifted me up, I go into my day with a grateful heart and positive attitude for the day. That in turn makes me smile more, be more generous, more forgiving and generally a better person than if I’d started with a negative outlook.
Last year it suddenly dawned on me that I should be encouraging everyone in my family to do this daily practice. If it helped me it would surely help them too. Everyone needs a little positivity added into their day, don’t they?
The benefits of gratitude journaling
You may just think that writing down things that you are grateful for will just fill you with positivity and gratitude, but there have been several scientifically-proven benefits that you may not have considered.
- It increases positivity. An obvious one yes, but very important. The more you can focus on the good in your life, the more you can focus on the good that is yet to come.
- It improves your confidence and self-esteem. When you focus on the little things in your life, you stop focusing on the comparisons. You begin to realise that you are enough, just as you are.
- It aids sleeping. Along with writing down the things you are grateful for, you can use this time to think about your day. If you can offload onto a page then your brain is more able to relax and fall asleep.
- It reduces stress levels. Happy people don’t get as affected by things as unhappy people do. They are more content with the life that they are living and are able to enjoy each day, whatever it brings.
How to get kids involved in gratitude
The way you approach this entirely depends on the age of your kids and their interests. But one thing I will say is that they are never too young. William was just 2 years old when I introduced it to my three and he was able to join in no problem.
For the very little. Every morning while on the way to school I would ask each of them to tell me 3 things that make them happy. William’s were the same every day; Paw Patrol, the car and porridge. But he joined in and was happy to hear what everyone else said. Getting them to verbalise their gratitude is the simplest way to get them started.
For young kids: Much the same as the little ones but getting them to think about the reason behind the things they have chosen. So again, ask them to verbalise their 3 things but get them to think about why that made them happy. Lily would often say her bed made her happy, so I would ask her to elaborate and explain why. Her bed made her happy because she got to cuddle up with all of her favourite toys.
For older kids: When you write things down you are 5x more likely to commit them to memory. Getting older children to write down their 3 things will help cement those things in their mind. The more they do this, the more they will notice positive things around them and the more positive their attitude will become.
“My Happy Journal”
Back in the summer, we came across My Happy Journal and I loved it instantly. I shared it on my stories and they then got in touch to see if we’d like to help spread the word. Well you know me, I love stationery and gratitude so I was more than happy to get the word out on such a lovely product!
How does ‘My Happy Journal’ work?
This is no ordinary journal. Of course, it has the pages to write down your 3 things, but it also has mindful colouring pages and fun activities to help kids to develop their concentration and creativity.
Grace, at 8 years old, is very into writing down her 3 things and completing the written activities. Lily, at 5 years old, is more into the creative side of mindful colouring and still errs on the verbal side for now. But both enjoy the daily practice of completing their journal and are much more aware of the things that go on around them each day.
I would definitely recommend this for ages 5 and up, for children who enjoy writing and mindful activities. It is a powerful tool that can help them to live more positively.
Find out more here: www.myhappyjournal.com
Whichever way you choose, daily gratitude is such a great way to lift their moods and get them living in a more positive way each day.
Negative thoughts are much more powerful than positive ones and as children turn into young adults they will have to deal with stresses and hormones and goodness knows what else. But if they have practised gratitude and positive thinking daily from a young age, it will hold them in good stead to keep them in that mindset all the way through. I just wish I’d done it sooner!
If you’d like to hear more about gratitude journaling then head over to my YouTube channel to see what I do every day.
We were gifted the journals as part of the collaboration but all words and thoughts are my own.