This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

By Ashley Marlow, ECC–Grade 5 school counselor
Fostering family happiness and resilience through gratitude.
The fall and winter holidays often prompt us to reflect on what we feel grateful for, especially with an abundance of food, celebrations and gifts. These events might encourage a sense of obligatory gratitude, but gratitude is integral to year-round self-care. Research has shown that practicing gratitude positively impacts our mental health and is a helpful tool for reframing our thoughts when we experience anxiety or sadness. If you’re looking to help your family cultivate an attitude of gratitude, try these ideas:

  1. Be a Role Model for Gratitude: Children look to the adults in their lives for guidance and will mimic their behavior. Show them how easy it is to be thankful throughout the day or week. For example, thanking someone for taking your order at a restaurant or commenting on someone’s thoughtfulness or kind gesture. 
  1. Encourage Appreciation Every Day: Incorporate appreciation into the family’s daily routine. At the dining table or as part of the bedtime routine, ask questions like, “What is something good that happened today?” “What is something that challenged you today?” “Who or what are you grateful for?” An added benefit of family members expressing appreciation for each other is that it strengthens family bonds by increasing feelings of connection and being valued.
  1. Create Visual Reminders: If your family enjoys art projects, designate some time for gratitude collages. Each family member can create their own collage to display and share with the group. Alternatively, if you prefer something smaller-scale, have everyone write down one thing they’re grateful for each day on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Schedule a regular time (at the end of the week or month) to read aloud together. 
  1. Volunteer Together: Spend time as a family volunteering and donating to those in need. Discuss the process with your children and explain why it’s essential to help the community. Involve children in deciding which organizations to support and how to contribute. For instance, give them the opportunity to sort through gently used toys and clothes that could enhance another child’s life.
  1. Celebrate Achievements: Make it a point to celebrate accomplishments, both big and small, for each family member. Show appreciation for the effort and acknowledge your child’s kindness and helpfulness at school and home.
  1. Express Appreciation Through Writing and Art: Use written and artistic expression to show appreciation. Encourage children to write thank-you cards or create artwork. It will be meaningful for your children to receive these kinds of notes from you, too, increasing the likelihood that they will want to do the same for others. 

Incorporating an attitude of gratitude into your family’s life has numerous benefits. It promotes well-being, strengthens family connections, and acts as a protective factor against mental health issues. Practicing gratitude is not only a valuable gift to pass on to our children but also a meaningful practice in our own lives. It reminds us that there are still good things in the world and gives us hope during challenging times. 

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

© 2024 La Jolla Country Day School 

Privacy Policy

COVID-19 Prevention Plan

Country Day Connection Newsletter