5 Fun Ways to Practice Gratitude as a Family

Posted on November 1, 2020
Young black adult woman and her daughter holding hands and saying grace with their multi generation family at the Thanksgiving dinner table, detail, focus on foreground

Are your kids (or you) bored of the typical Thanksgiving tradition of going around the table and naming a couple of things you’re grateful for? Practicing gratitude doesn’t need to be as dull as washing the dinner dishes after the holiday meal! Try one (or more) of these five fun ways to practice gratitude as a family. You may find yourself celebrating Thanksgiving all season long!

1. Turn gratitude into a game.

Instead of saying aloud what you’re grateful for, encourage your kids and dinner guests to write them anonymously on slips of paper (you can even incorporate this into their place settings at the table). Collect the slips into a basket or jar. After the meal, pass around the basket and ask each guest to randomly select a slip of paper to read aloud. Everyone can have fun guessing who is grateful for what (be creative when writing down your blessings—make sure you don’t give yourself away!). Make it even more challenging by saving the gratitude slips for next Thanksgiving to see if even the authors can remember what they were grateful for the previous year!

2. Keep a family gratitude journal.

Select a special journal or let children help decorate a plain notebook. Once or twice a week (daily if possible!), gather the family after dinner and ask them to share something they were thankful for that day. Designate a “scribe”—someone to record the blessings in the journal—and make sure your children take turns so everyone gets involved. Encourage older children to start keeping their own gratitude journals (parents, make sure you lead by example!).

3. Create a gratitude jar.

This is a tradition you can practice all year long! Help your children decorate a large jar or container however they wish. Get creative with stickers, paint, ribbons, or even seasonal decorations like raffia and pressed leaves. Seal with shellac or mod podge to protect their creation! Set the jar in a prominent place with a small tear-off notepad and a pen beside it. Instruct family members to write down things they are grateful for throughout the week and place the slips of paper in the jar. At the end of each week, review the contents of the jar together as a family. Keep adding to the jar or start over every week or month.

4. Designate a gratitude board.

For those who need a more visual reminder to practice gratitude, using a dry-erase board can help! Display the board in a high-traffic area of your home, such as the kitchen or a main hallway, so family members have plenty of opportunities to contribute. Keep dry-erase markers handy so everyone can record what they’re thankful for. When the board fills up, take time to review it as a family and celebrate God’s blessings together. Then, erase it and start over!

5. Run a #grateful social media campaign.

This activity shows children how to use social media in a positive way while reflecting on their blessings! Decide on a timeframe (e.g. 30 days of gratitude) and encourage family members to post something they’re thankful for every day. If your children are too young for social media, let them contribute ideas and help you take photos to post on your account. You can even create a special hashtag (e.g. #smithsgivethanks, #thegratefulbrowns) and inspire other families to practice gratitude!