Give Thanks With Your Children

When my older daughter, Marissa, was four, we started writing in a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, we’d talk about the day and all the things for which we were thankful. I would write down, word for word, what she said and she would often draw a picture to go along with it. Then, I’d add my own entry, too.  Here are some examples of what she had to say:


  • I’m thankful for Daddy letting me dig outside with him.
  • I am thankful for when Mommy let me go with Grandpa on a walk and I fed almost a million ducks and birds.
  • I am thankful for when my sister plays with me and goes in the bath with me.
  • I am thankful for when my family goes in the pool with me.
  • I am thankful for when Daddy, Mommy, and Grandma read stories to me.


We filled up the entire journal in only three months because about halfway through, she started writing by herself and her writing and pictures took up a lot of space.


I noticed that in the entire three months, there were very few times she wrote about her “stuff.” She wrote about being thankful for some of her special stuffed animals, but most of the time, she expressed gratitude for the time she spent with family.


Expressing gratitude is a great practice to start when children are young. We also write thank you cards and discuss daily gratitude around the dinner table.


I once heard Marie Forleo say that gratitude “changes you on a cellular level and is the most important path to spirituality.”


So, how about you?  Do you have any rituals in your family that you use to show gratitude? Let us know in the comments below.


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Showing 5 comments
  • Dr. Linda Burd Howard

    This is a sure-fire way to build a stronger family and healthier individuals. People find what they look for; If you’re looking for blessings you’ll find them everywhere. A good idea is asking your kids where they are going to find blessings that day. In the evening, they get to explain how they perceived what happened as a blessing, and you can discuss how it would be possible for a person feeling “negative” to find misery in the same situation. Your children will soon understand the importance of a positive outlook, and they’ll realize that happiness is a choice. Read more in I Can Relate To That! A Toolbox for Life’s Journey, by Dr. Linda Howard. Pamela, you’re doing a great service!!

  • Ellen

    Nice idea! I started a journal when my son was born that I write in as I feel moved, but have told myself I will at least on every birthday until he’s 18 (he’s 14 months and I’ve written in it a handful of times). I love the idea of recording his thoughts once he’s old enough to express them in a manner I can understand!

  • Laura

    Love the journaling idea! What a great way to see their emotional growth over time and watch their writing and illustrations change too.

  • sfjessica

    What a beautiful thing to do with your kids!
    I’m all for it and any other positive bonding event.

  • stephanie

    One of my clients has a 7-year-old boy and 3-year-old twin girls, and they play a game at dinnertime called “Two roses and a thorn”. Everyone says two good things that happened during the day and one not-so-good thing. One day I ran into her son at his school, and she told me that night, he mentioned our encounter as one of his roses. Made my day, too!

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