How can I encourage gratitude at home?

Have you ever noticed that it can be much easier to feel grateful and be a good example when you are out in public?  Home should be our haven, right?   In reality, it is often the place where stress levels are high and we forget our manners: kids are being kids (i.e.noisy and rambunctious), tempers flare, and patience seems hard to come by.  Here are 10 simple ideas for changing the atmosphere and restoring peace and gratitude:

  • Make the bed for a family member who was in a hurry this morning.  If you have time, leave a note.  Something simple like:  “The bed making fairy was here.”
  • Talk to your child about the day he or she was born, and the excitement you felt with his arrival.
  • Put the children to bed early (or leave them with a neighbor) and make your wife a candlelight dinner.  Keep the conversation positive and focused on what’s important to her.
  • Fix your husband breakfast and bring it to him in bed.  Discuss his plans for the day.
  • Ask your spouse or child what his/her most cherished dream is.  Consider how you can help it come true.
  • Find a jar, decorate it, and place some positive words inside, each on a separate slip of paper:  happy; smile; thanks; fortunate; beautiful; capable; friendly; appreciated;  peaceful; nurturing; accomplished; abundant, etc.  Remove one word each day and use it in your conversations.
  • Have a special family night where everyone is given the opportunity to express one thing they admire about each family member.  No one is allowed to repeat what someone else has said. Sit in a circle and let everyone take a turn.  When our children were growing up we did this once or twice a year.
  • Read bedtime stories instead of watching television.
  • Work side by side with your child doing the after-dinner cleanup.  Talk about your child’s day, or take time to express some things you notice and admire about him/her.
  • Have a one-on-one ice cream date with a child or your spouse.

Make it a habit to mix these and other ideas into your weekly routine.  They will help create an atmosphere of love and appreciation for everyone at home!