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Random Acts of Thankfulness

What does it mean to be thankful? Better yet what does it do for us as parents to showcase gratitude to our little ones? Well I tried an experiment for myself shortly after having my son. I vowed to keep a daily gratitude list. Every day as a new mom of this spunky and very loud infant I noted what I was grateful for. Please understand that at this time I was sleep deprived, had limited maternity leave and was coping with weight issues and adjusting to mommyhood. So why the list? To keep perspective. To keep my calm. To keep realizing how blessed I actually was. I began to notice that in every complaint a opportunity for gratitude exists.

Do you want an example? I figured you would. Okay. So I found myself annoyed that I needed to get up for work. I had a job. I was annoyed that my baby would wake early from his nap. So many gratitude options there. One, I had a beautiful baby, that communicated when he was awake, that had a warm place to sleep and that wants my cuddles more than anyone else. You get the picture?

So as we near another day where turkey is plentiful and the next day we might get a tv snatched out of our grip by a stranger I wonder if we can think of a way to change the tone of this week. Is there a way to randomly make our own level of gratitude a way for others to be grateful? How can we get our kids involved in doing nice things for others and even recognizing their own good fortune by being aware and mindful of the things that they can be grateful for? Some tips below:

-Gratitude scavenger hunt check list (bundle up and list 10 random things they can be grateful for outside)
-Have the kids recall their holiday wish list from last year and remind them of how much they received
-bake thankful treats together and give them to people who your family is grateful for.
-Make a family thank you board. Get creative with stickers and glue if you need to.
-Go to McDonald’s and pay for the person’s meal in line behind you.
-Go to the grocery store and purchase someone’s items in the express line
-Leave quarters and a note on the bubble gum and small toy machine in the store
-Send a family you care for pizza for dinner
-Have a friends-giving party in which every guest receives a small token of why you can be thankful for them.
– Have your child write a thank you letter or card

– Volunteer as a family to help those in need 
– Give a hug, handshake or high five along with a smile and say “Thank you!” 
– Create a daily routine of asking your child (maybe at bedtime or meal time) “What are you thankful for today?”
– Look for those teachable moments when you can express gratitude and set the example for your child.  
-come up with your own list as a family
Tara Michener
Author: Tara Michener