Family Dinner Topic: What are you grateful for today?

Text reading Family Dinner Topic: What are you grateful for today?

After reading about the importance of practicing gratitude, I purchased four small spiral notebooks, one for each member of my family. I shared my idea of writing down and sharing things we were grateful for every now and again.

Unfortunately, my family didn’t share my enthusiasm for the idea. My youngest daughter, who was about six at the time, thought it sounded like a lot of work. She was just learning to write, so keeping a gratitude journal felt hard. But she agreed to the idea if she could draw in her notebook instead. My husband and other daughter agreed too, but barely.

We spent a few minutes writing gratitudes and anyone who wanted to share could. I don’t remember what was said, but I do remember feeling mild resistance around the table. So I tucked the journals in a drawer.

Image of gratitude journals

Cultivating a Grateful Family

Every couple of months, I’d find the journals again and bring them to dinner. Over the years, my family has grown to really enjoy this practice. These discussions help us focus on the positive things in our lives and count our many blessings. My kids love looking over their older entries and sharing the changes they see in themselves.

It’s been a while since we’ve practiced gratitude, so for the month of November we’re going to try to have a gratitude discussion once a week. We thought it would be a perfect way to prepare for Thanksgiving. If your family has a gratitude practice….please share!

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

-Albert Einstein

Articles About Gratitude Practice:

Psychology Today – 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Greater Good Magazine – How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

Ground Rules to Support Family Dinner Connection and Conversations

  • Make the dinner table a safe space. Practice respectful listening. Do not make fun or embarrass anyone about what they share. (This rule has grown into a house rule too.)
  • Turn off and put away devices. Make the dinner table a no phone, tablet, or TV zone. 
  • Make the conversations fun, especially as you get started. (Later, families may delve into more serious topics and discussions.)
  • Choosing not to respond is okay. Allow family members just to listen if they prefer not to share.
  • To start, introduce just one topic at each dinner. From there, decide what works best for your family.

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Published by Jessica Speer, Author

Author and Advocate for Kids and Families

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