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  • Elenor MacGregor

Kids gratitude journal & more; 30 days gratitude

Updated: 7 days ago

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, fostering an attitude of gratitude (over the holidays and beyond) is a gift that keeps on giving. As parents, instilling a sense of appreciation into children can have profound effects on their well-being and outlook on life. Here' are some heartwarming activities to do with your little ones including gratitude journaling for kids and more ways to create an attitude of gratitude.

Many people don't know this but whatever it is we choose to focus our brains on gets stronger. That's true whether we are focusing on the negative or the positive. By orienting to the positive our brains chain for the better and are more able to notice the positive in life. This has a direct impact on mental wellbeing.

1. Gratitude Journaling:

Encourage your little ones to keep a daily gratitude journal, jotting down things they are thankful for or drawing pictures together of things they are thankful for. Try doing one journal entry per day for 30 days or alternate between writing something down or drawing feelings. Many kids love art as a way to express themselves.

2. Thankful Jar:

Create a family tradition by having each member write down one thing they're grateful for and placing it in a jar per day for a full year . Read the notes together on special occasions or whenever either you or your child are having a tough day. Remember the more you practice noting what your are grateful for and the more you reinforce it with rereading the memories the more you and your child's brain "wires" for gratitude and wellbeing.

3. Gratitude Quotes for kids:

Try posting positive mantras or quotes around your house. Write them on mirrors or post them on your kid's favorite toy. Here's a couple of cute quotes to get you started:

  • “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” AA Milne

  • “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White

  • Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”—Goodnight Moon

  • “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”  – Henri Matisse

4. Nature Walk Reflections:

Take a leisurely stroll with your kids, appreciating the beauty of nature and discussing what you're grateful for along the way. Point out birds, flowers and trees. Talk about your day and what you were grateful for in that day. Point out what you are grateful for about having your child in your life.

5. Group Gratitude Art Project:

Get creative! Have a family art session where everyone draws or crafts something that represents gratitude. I love going to somewhere like a paint your own ceramics studio like Fired Up and paint a ceramic all together. Or take out a big piece of cardboard and cover it all colors of paint displaying your joy of life through color and abstract expression. Also fun, is collage. Cut up pieces of magazines or print pictures and cut those out. Glue them onto a card and sent it out to a friend! There are so many options.

6. Acts of Kindness:

Show gratitude through actions. Perform small acts of kindness as a family, whether it's helping a neighbor or donating to a local charity. Donate extra toys to shelters for unhoused people or for families fleeing domestic violence. Consider donating one toy for every new toy you buy.

7. Gratitude Scavenger Hunt:

Create a scavenger hunt with items representing things to be grateful for. It's a fun way to teach gratitude while having an adventure. You can even make a day out of it and search for local landmarks all over your hometown. Your family's special places are definitely on the hot list. So go to that park and thank the park, dig up a (previously buried) clue and head to your next destination such as a river, beach or favorite restaurant. Throughout the course of the day, you and your little one will have noticed how grateful you are for your hometown.

8. Family Thank You Notes:

Set aside time to write thank-you notes together, expressing appreciation for others in your lives. I think Valentines day is a wonderful day to do this. The crazy winter holiday stress has passed and things are usually a bit more spacious. Pick 4-5 special people in your life and write thank you's to them for being wonderful people. List all the things you and your kiddo appreciate about them.

9. Mealtime Thanks:

Before digging into your delicious meals, take a moment to express gratitude for the food on your table. Point out all the nutrition you are getting from different foods. Bonus points if you can name what the different macro and micronutrients are good for in your body. If your not sure, point out how veggies make the body strong and resilient. Make sure to let your little ones know how much you like veggies and model eating them for added impact.

10. Gratitude Rocks:

Paint or decorate rocks with things you're thankful for, then place them in a garden or as decoration around the house. You can spice up your veggie plot with these. Or use little ones as lunchbox surprises. Don't forget to give them out for gift too.

11. Storytime Gratitude:

Read books that emphasize gratitude and discuss the lessons learned afterward. "Gratitude is My Superpower: A children’s book about Giving Thanks and Practicing Positivity" by Alicia Ortego is a fun one to try.

12. Mindful Breathing:

Incorporate deep-breathing exercises into your routine, discussing things you're grateful for with each breath.

13. Gratitude Affirmations:

Start or end the day with positive affirmations about gratitude, reinforcing a positive mindset.

14. Grateful Bedtime Routine:

During bedtime, share one thing each family member is grateful for that day.

15. Family Gratitude Circle:

Sit in a circle and take turns expressing gratitude. This fosters a sense of connection and open communication. I really like this for young children so they can get a sense of open communication at a young age.

16. Memory Jar:

Collect mementos throughout the year that represent moments of gratitude and store them in a special jar. Bonus if you bury it on their birthday and dig it up the next year to remember everything you were thankful for the year before.

17. Volunteer Together:

Engage in community service as a family, teaching children the value of giving back.

18. Gratitude Bingo:

Create a gratitude-themed bingo game with different activities or moments to be grateful for.

19. Tech-Free Thankfulness:

Designate specific times during the week for tech-free moments, allowing for quality family time and discussions about gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is a powerful tool for promoting positivity and well-being in your family. My hope is that you'll not only be fostering gratitude in your children but also creating lasting memories of love, appreciation, and togetherness.


Dr. Ellie

When you're ready here's how Dr. Ellie can help: 

When your child, teen or young adult child is grappling with focus issues, hyperactivity, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, or perfectionism you know they are suffering.  Tummy and headaches, getting sick a lot, trouble in school, and feeling run down take a toll on your child and on you. 

You want to help the ones you love ease their suffering and alleviate their symptoms by 

addressing their underlying medical conditions without going straight to adding pharmaceutical medications that can come with their own set of adverse side effects and complications.

As a holistic pediatrician, I uncover and treat the underlying root causes of symptoms while working to reduce the need for medications so they can get back to being a kid and reclaim their childhood joy. 

With advanced diagnostic testing and a personalized treatment program I take a thoughtful,  thorough, and caring medical approach to address your child’s health.  We will address genetic factors, diet, gut health, lifestyle as I walk hand in hand with you and your child toward sustainable well being, resilience, and joy.

For more information on brain health check out my other posts:

Dr. Ellie MacGregor is a holistic integrative and functional medicine pediatrician who specializes in the treatment of ADHD, ADD, anxiety and depression without medication.  She is the owner of Middle Path Integrative Pediatrics with over 14 years of experience.  Dr. Ellie MacGregor helps readers separate fact from spin to make informed decisions about their health and the health of their children.

Get Dr. Ellie’s Guide to Brain Health via the gut for more information or view her website to get in touch. 


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