family fun

8 Family Gratitude Projects

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Calling all gratitude journal dropouts! If you’ve ever started writing in a gratitude journal only to give up after a few weeks or months, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I’ve abandoned more journals than I care to admit. I always start with good intentions to count my blessings, but somewhere along the way I lose my motivation. Eventually my journal gets buried in the back of a bookshelf collecting dust while my heart collects complaints, fears, and doubts. I’ve even encouraged my children to start gratitude journals but they don’t last long either.

The good news is that there is help for the family of Gratitude Journal Dropouts! In fact, there are many alternatives to traditional journal writing that will keep you and your family counting blessings all year long. Here are some of my favorites!

Tips for Creating an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Family

Color Your Kitchen with Gratitude Cards

Who needs an entire notebook when you can do the job with a single index card? Buy a stack of colorful index cards and keep them in the kitchen where everyone will see them. Any time someone feels joyful, take a minute to write a sentence or word down on an index card and post it on a wall, refrigerator, or bulletin board so you can all be reminded of your blessings. You can also use sticky notes.

We turned our fridge into a collection spot for gratitude cards. I'm running out of magnets though!

 Find a Gratitude Buddy

Divide the family into pairs (or trios) so everyone has a partner. Make a commitment to share one thing each day that you are grateful for. It helps to have someone else depending on you and expecting you to deliver a thankful thought each day!

Make it Thanksgiving Every Day

If you enjoy the tradition of going around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and expressing a sentiment of gratitude, why not make it a daily habit? With young children, you can make it a game. At my house, we play “High/Low” at dinnertime. Each person shares a “high” and a “low” from the day. It’s an opportunity to really connect and learn what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Create a Grateful Doodle

Sometimes there are no words to express our feelings. Let your markers and pencils do the talking by spending 10 minutes doodling your delight on a blank page. Children love this exercise and there’s a side effect—you get to experience the Art of Being a Stress Free Mom!

Here's a doodle I did with my daughter one day when she was home from school sick. She wanted to let the boys know how much she appreciated them.

Write Where You Are

Sometimes it’s just too much to add another project to keep up with. What are you already writing on or in every day? A shopping list? Day planner? Devotional? Add a sentence of gratitude anywhere on the page! Don’t worry that it doesn’t “belong” there. There are no rules—gratitude belongs everywhere!

Go Green and Grateful

Try the eco-friendly approach of expressing your gratitude on a chalkboard or whiteboard someplace visible in your home. When something new fills your heart with joy, erase it and start over. Invite the entire family to join you. This takes the pressure off how many sentiments you have to come up with and how often you need to add to the list.

Gratitude Chalkboard

Be Social

Turn your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets into a feed of gratitude.  Post an image on Pinterest or Instagram that shows your gratitude every day. Make it a point to share your blessings with your virtual friends and family each day. You may be surprised to see some of them join in! Take it a step further by joining a project like Ann Voscamp’s Joy Dare.

There’s an App for That

If you’re a digital family, enter your expression of gratitude into an app you can share. Try Happy Tapper, Gratitude Journal, Live Happy, Evernote, or Gratitude Stream.

Now, does that help make the gratitude thing seem more manageable? What have you tried in your home?

Theresa Ceniccola Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a mentor to moms who are running a business that support their values of faith and family. As president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace. Join the International Christian Mompreneur Network for free and receive the Ten Commandments of a Mompreneur toolkit!
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