This week has been super exciting. I created a gratitude jar with my kids, and it has been a HUGE success.
Practicing gratitude and teaching gratitude to my children has been a journey. In a world of never enough, it is easy to get lost in wanting more, feeling left out, or generally not grateful for all of our wonderful blessings.
It’s why, after a recent everyday experience with my kids, I decided to create a gratitude jar.
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Gratitude jar inspiration
We went to the children’s museum recently. The weather was beautiful, and we spent hours outside (before four days straight of bone-cold temperatures).
When it was finally time to go, my kids were disappointed, a feeling you are probably familiar with any time you have to leave a fun event with a child!
One of my kiddos started crying and telling me she “had a terrible day and no fun at all”. Typical kid stuff, I know.
After some discussion about the difference between being angry we had to leave vs actually having a blast for hours on end, she conceded she did have an amazing day but was super aggravated I was making them go home.
That night, before bed, I asked both girls to tell me something they are grateful for (or to tell me their “gratefuls”). It’s a practice we do off and on, but I figured it might be needed.
When my daughter struggled to tell me her “gratefuls” for the evening, I was inspired to create a gratitude jar to get a little more daily gratitude practice with my kids.
We seem to live in a culture of “never enough”.
- Never enough stuff in our homes.
- Never enough money in your bank account.
- Never enough time to do ALL THE THINGS.
- Never enough food to satisfy our cravings.
- Never enough love to make us feel whole.
- Never enough space.
- Never enough happiness.
Why do we torture ourselves so much?
I’ve never been one to keep a gratitude journal. I’ve tried several times.
I’ve tried tracking my gratitude in my planner, a daily journal, and a travel notebook, and even on my phone. It seems I’ll keep my streak for a few days, and then, like magic, all my fancy supplies and notebooks disappear.
I needed something more obvious and available to practice my gratitude, hence the creation of the gratitude jar.
The best thing about a gratitude jar is your blessings are visually obvious. If you are having a crap-tacular day, you can look at the gratitude jar and see how blessed you and your family really are.
Involve your kids
What I love about our gratitude jar is that I do it with my kids.
I actually had a gratitude jar years ago, but I kept it for myself and had no plan for it. Like the gratitude journals, it faded away in its use.
When I involve my kids in a project, they always surprise me by being all in. I suggested the use of a gratitude jar with them, and now, every single day, they make sure everyone in the family contributes to the gratitude jar.
It fills me up knowing they are now finding joy in practicing gratitude.
How to create a gratitude jar
Creating a gratitude jar is super simple. In fact, it was far easier to execute than any gratitude journal I used in the past.
First, find a spare mason jar or cardboard box. I like to use a half-gallon mason jar. They are big, and you can see through them.
You can also decorate your jar or box. Personally, I like to keep my gratitude mason jar decoration-free and use super fun and colorful papers to fill up the jar with all my little gratitudes.
If you use a cardboard box, you could get a head start on decluttering your craft room, and use some cute scrapbook paper to decorate the box.
Gratitude jar instructions
Check out these gratitude jar instructions, easy-peasy and kid-approved!
- Place the gratitude jar somewhere obvious and where the entire family can enjoy it.
- Set a time when everyone writes down a “grateful.” No repeats!
- Write down your name, the date, and what you are grateful for.
- Fold the paper in half, and place your grateful in the gratitude jar.
- Watch the gratitude jar fill up with all your blessings.
- If you like, set a date to go through all the “gratefuls” with your family. You can make it an entire event!
How we use the gratitude jar in our family
We put the gratitude mason jar front and center on our kitchen table. Every night, after dinner, we write down one “grateful”, fold the cute little square in half, and place it in the jar.
No repeats! That takes all the fun out of it!
Once the jar is full, on a special occasion, or when we simply need a quick reminder of how lucky we are, we can open up the jar and read aloud all of our “gratefuls”.
Given the time of the year, this Thanksgiving, we plan to sit in our pajamas, after watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and read aloud all of our blessings.
Gratitude jar free printable
We all need a little more gratefulness in our lives. We live in a culture of excess and never enough. Use the gratitude jar to remember how truly fortunate you are and that there is in fact, enough.
To help make gratefulness a daily habit with the gratitude jar, (and to make the activity cute and fun), I created this Gratitude Jar Free Printable.
There are two sheets of colorful squares for you to cut out and write down all your “gratefuls” so you can remember how truly blessed you are, even on the toughest of days.