It’s spring break here in Alberta. So in honour of the first signs of longer days and receding snow - both things which I’m exceedingly grateful for after a long cold winter – here’s an idea for you to do with your kids or grandchildren. Tailor the size of the project according to the age and attention span of your children – a short project for a single day this vacation or month long project.
We are often told to create a Gratitude List in order to remember the things we are grateful for in our lives. The list does more than serve as a reminder. By remembering with more than our heads but also our hearts and bodies we can raise our energy which in turn will attract more of the same into our lives.
Living a life of gratitude for even the small things can turn a bad mood around in a flash.
Isn’t that a great technique to teach your kids?
So here’s what you do:
- The idea is to gather together pictures of all those things they are grateful for. Start off by asking them what it is that they most look forward to experiencing every day.
- It could be things or people they see like the blue sky, their pets, mum’s face, the trees outside, the colour pink. Or it could be things they touch like the puppy’s fur, the water in the shower. Or even things they taste like breakfast, chocolate ice cream. Or hear like the sound of a wind chime or their favourite band on the radio. Or things they do like play sports or video games.
- Depending on the age of your kids you have a few choices regarding how to gather your pictures:
- If they are older, you could let them use your digital camera and spend a few days taking pictures and then print out the results using a computer
- Mid-age kids would love to do the same thing but use a disposable camera – and have the added delight of visiting the drugstore to get the pictures developed afterwards.
- If they are younger you can supervise the kids cutting pictures from an old pile of magazines.
- All kids (including the younger ones with supervision) will love to search the internet for pictures on the PC and print them off.
- For variety add other things that enhance the ideas in the pictures. Ask your kids to draw pictures of particularly special things or use actual items that remind you of that person, place or thing… a hair ribbon, a ticket for a concert or a trip abroad, a twig from the yard, a label from their favourite dessert. They can also write decorative words to describe what they feel about the pictures they have taken.
- Now simply grab a large sheet of paper and start sticking. The pictures and items and words can be arranged in a simple square or circle, or draw the outline of another meaningful shape first like an angel or a star or a tree and then stick the pictures or objects within it.
- When you’ve finished, stand back with your child and really look at the picture. Each of the things depicted here are personal to them. Ask them to think about how their body is feeling as they look. Ask them to describe what gratitude feels like? A lump in the throat? A beating heart? A racing pulse? A fluttering stomach? Weak knees? Or simply a sense of calm and happiness? A big smile?
- Suggest that on the days when they don’t experience those feelings that they take out their Gratitude picture and simply remember.