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I wanted to share this 25 Day Be Grateful Countdown to Christmas with you today to hopefully share with your family, as well. I made it in 2016, but I use it every year with our kids. No matter when you start this calendar, just know that you are making a difference in the future of your child.
Being GRATEFUL makes you HAPPY
According to a Harvard Study: “A positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
I still remember, a few years ago… Mickey and I were watching The Good Doctor on TV. The show is about this brilliant, young surgical resident with autism and savant syndrome. In the first episode, he helps to save a child’s life, in an extraordinary way.
While we were watching it, I asked Mickey to “Push Pause.” (I’m sure he dreads hearing this because it means I want to talk instead of watching the show… lol!)
Anyway, I asked him to “Push Pause” and I said, “What do you think the kids will be when they grow up?” We talked about different careers, and how our kids are so different from each other. It’s so funny that people can be so different, even though they are all raised in the same house, by the same parents.
I just pray that they’ll be happy and grateful for what they have in their lives. If they are grateful, they will be happy.
I hope that they don’t stress about things that we don’t need to worry about & that they see the good in things and in people.
It is up to me to remind them of all that they have to be grateful for, and to remind them to be thankful every day. I read, just the other day, that writing down three things that you are grateful for before you go to bed can actually make you happier.
I believe it. As the saying goes…
“Happiness isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.”
I made this small little 25-day checklist and I printed it out this morning and put it on the wall beside our table. I wanted to share it with you.
It’s nothing fancy, just a simple sheet of questions and reminders (scroll down towards the bottom for the printable calendar instead.) I made it a few years ago, but I print it every year.
HERE ARE THE INDIVIDUAL QUESTIONS (in case you wanted to copy them to edit for your own family):
- What is one thing that you can do for someone else today?
- What is your favorite thing about you?
- Tell me one way that you can make someone smile.
- What is something helpful that you can do, without telling anyone that it was YOU that did it?
- What can we donate today?
- Tell me a time when you didn’t “fit in” and it was for the best?
- Tell me about a time when you stood up for someone else.
- When you pray at night, what is something NEW that you can thank God for, other than the things you already say?
- What is something that you want to change about you? Why?
- If you could pick the perfect friend… would you pick you?
- When you help around the house, what do you think that does for the rest of the family?
- What is something for which you are grateful? Why do you think you have that?
- If you want something that you don’t have, what would you have to do to get it?
- How does hard work pay off?
- How can your hard work help others?
- When you see others making bad choices, how does it make you feel?
- How do you think others feel when they see you doing the right thing?
- Why do we need to do what is right, even when it’s not the “cool” thing?
- What is something you’ve seen me do that has made you proud?
- What is something that you’ve done for which you are proud of yourself?
- Say one thing that you like about each person here.
- Say one thing that you like about yourself.
- What are you grateful for today?
- Why is it important to write thank you notes and say “thank you”?
- What does it mean when people say “it’s better to give than to receive”?
I also made a similar BE GRATEFUL calendar.
You are welcome to download it here.
Here are a few other ways to raise children to be grateful:
(1) Be an example. Let your children see you when you tell your husband “thank you for filling up the van”. Let your children hear you when you tell your child’s teacher “Thank you for being a great teacher.” Let your children feel when you hug them when they have done something kind.
(2) Remind your children to write out Thank You Notes.
(3) Tell them stories about times when you helped someone else. Kids love to hear things like this and it’s important for us to be a great example, even when they aren’t watching.
4) Start the tradition of saying what you are thankful for and continue it throughout the year. Every night at dinner or bedtime, say what you are thankful for. I pray with each child at night and I always start by giving thanks for specific things. I say my prayers out loud, so our children can hear.
(5) LOOK at your child when talking to them! Let your child know that you see them and hear them. Let them know when you are proud of them. They will begin to do the same.