While I would love to take credit for this genius idea, it was inspired by one of my mom idols Carissa Byers. She shared that her family shares the things they are grateful for at dinner time each evening: The Gratitude Game. When I read this I realized it was such a simple task that could make a huge impact.
Now my family is a bit different and we don’t have a formal dinner time; almost everyone in our home eats at a different time due to work and school schedules. We do have a set bedtime routine and that is where I started implementing The Gratitude Game.
When I first started, I just asked my two girls (ages seven and three) to name something they were thankful for. My girls were not happy at is bedtime, so they really weren’t keen on taking a moment to practice gratitude until I explained we can make it a “game” and whoever comes up the best idea gets a point. In our house-you earn and lose points, at the end of the week the person with the most points earns a special privilege. The Gratitude Game was the game changer that started our habit and I no longer have to gamify it because it is something they look forward to each night.
My oldest tends to say the same things most nights—jumping on the trampoline, her art supplies, or getting to go to her favorite restaurant. My youngest always has the most entertaining answers such as an ice pack for her ouchies or her daddy’s toots that make her laugh. Sometimes though, one of the girls will come up with an answer that takes my breath away and make me feel immense gratitude.
Recently, my oldest told me that she was thankful I always gave her hugs, even when she knows I am disappointed in her. This is a conscious effort on my part but I didn’t realize until that moment it was making the impact I had hoped for. Without the Gratitude Game, I would have never known this.
The girls ask me for what I am thankful for and I try to come up with something unique but always end with the same thing, I am forever grateful that I was picked to be their mom.