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Year-End Reflections: Guiding Your Kids to Write Gratitude Journals
by: Priyanka Raha ~12/21/2023


Discover the art of gratitude journaling during the holiday season to inspire children to express thankfulness through words.

Imagine the festive colors, the twinkling holiday lights, and the scent of hot cocoa wafting through the air. The holiday season is a time for festivities and it’s also a time for us to reflect on our blessings and express gratitude. But how do we inspire our children to express their thankfulness, not just during this season, but all year round? The answer lies in the art of gratitude journaling.

Gratitude journaling is a simple yet powerful tool that encourages children to reflect on their day and identify things they are thankful for. It not only enhances their writing and creativity skills but also fosters a positive mindset. Here are some tips to inspire your children to express thankfulness through words.

1. Make it a fun and engaging activity: Instead of making journaling seem like a chore, turn it into a fun activity. Use colorful journals, stickers, and markers to make the process more appealing. Encourage your children to draw pictures or write poems about what they are thankful for. You could even use old magazines or newspapers to cut out pictures or search up photos on the internet and print them out. Then use these pictures in your journal.

2. Guide them but don't dictate: It's important to guide your children in the process but avoid dictating what they should write. Ask open-ended questions like, "What made you happy today?" or "What are you thankful for?" to stimulate their thoughts. Encourage them to think beyond their toys and candies, and consider experiences, people, and feelings that bring joy to their lives. It is also beneficial to make this a regular activity, perhaps a conversation during dinner, or a quiet reflection time before bed.

3. Be a role model: Children learn by example. Show them your gratitude journal and share what you are thankful for. This will inspire them to do the same. Let them see how you express gratitude for both big and small things, be it a successful work project or a peaceful morning cup of coffee. Involve your children in your gratitude practices. For instance, you could have a family gratitude session where everyone discusses one thing they're thankful for that day.

4. Celebrate their efforts: Praise your children for their efforts in maintaining a gratitude journal. This will motivate them to continue the practice. Acknowledge their dedication, whether it's for consistently writing in their journal or for the depth and thoughtfulness of their entries. you can celebrate their milestones in gratitude journaling, such as completing a month of entries or filling up an entire journal. Remember to engage with their entries or what they share, showing genuine interest and appreciation for their thoughts, thereby making it meaningful for them.

Personally I love the idea of expressing gratitude as a practice. A few years ago, I made it a habit of asking my children during dinner or during evening conversations - ‘What are you thankful for today?’ Initially they were reluctant and took some time to find events from the day that they were thankful for. But we made it fun and we all participated. The key is to not dwell on whether the event was big or small, it could be a simple thing like, ‘I did not spill my milk today.’ Over time, the children started looking forward to these conversations. We sometimes switch up the questions to keep it interesting. Here are some different questions to try:

‘What went well today?’

‘How did you help today?’

‘What is something new that you learnt today?’

Gratitude journaling is a powerful tool that can inspire children to express thankfulness. It not only enhances their writing and creativity skills but also fosters a positive mindset. As we approach the holiday season and wrap up another year, let's encourage our children to express their gratitude through words. Remember, gratitude is not just for this season; it's for life.


Finding new ways to inspire kids to write and communicate effectively is one of my life’s work which is why I include many fun activities in our writing classes to inspire the next generation of thinkers. Want to learn more about our story writing classes? Check us out here.

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