The following is a guest post by Carla Molina of the blog, All of Me Now.
Last year, I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon for 30 days of gratitude in November. Everyday I'd post the things I was grateful for and also what my two daughters gave thanks for before bed. It provided some heartfelt and funny posts.
An old friend commented; she told me I was doing such a beautiful thing for my daughters and teaching them an important lesson. Her words really made an impact. It made me wonder why we only ever gave thanks during the month of November. And so, I ventured into creating a daily gratitude ritual.
We tried different things - giving thanks during a meal, while making dinner, during bath time, in the car - but what everyone naturally gravitated toward was giving thanks at bedtime.
Every night after the girls are snug in their pajamas, I turn out the lights and light a small candle. We each take a turn giving thanks for three things then blow out the candle. Once we've all had a turn, I light the candle one last time and we each make a wish and blow out the candle together. Most recently, my oldest has added her own little touch and, as the candle goes out, she whispers, "Let our wish come true."
There are nights when we're so past their bedtime, I want to skip it so I can get some work done while they sleep. Other nights I simply forget to pull out the candle. But my girls never forget. Every night they ask for it. I think it's a wonderful way for them to go to bed with positive feelings in their hearts.
This year I skipped the 30 days of gratitude on Facebook. It's become a yearlong tradition. And while friends can no longer share in the things we give thanks for, I know our daily practice has a much greater impact on the hearts of my daughters.
How do you encourage your kids to practice gratitude?
Carla Molina is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Latina.com, SpanglishBaby, Tiki Tiki Blog and in the soon to be launched Vida Vibrante. A Jersey girl gone New England, Carla is a homeschooling mom passionate about raising her two daughters by example. When she's not taking in a movie or devouring a good book, you can find Carla directing and producing her local Listen To Your Mother show which hits the stage in May 2013. Keep up with Carla at her personal blog, All of Me Now.