The simple wisdom of time can sometimes be enough to start a new habit that will benefit us. Either through watching others or through our own personal experiences, we can see how something can help our lives grow and flourish. But when you are only a few years into your life or you’ve spent a lot of your life with your metaphorical eyes closed to the world around you this can be much harder. You need something much more visual to help you.
I love a visual, particularly and physical visual. Something on paper. While it’s no secret I love digital in so many areas, there’s something magical about pen to paper. Even when I am just writing a shopping list my daughter calls it “mummy colouring”. I am being creative to her, and I like that way of looking at it. Creativity feeds our souls, so combining all these things into a child-friendly gratitude habit has to be a winner.
Enter the Gratitude Tree.
A Gratitude Tree is a tree that flourishes based on our gratitude for life. You can make it as big or small as space allows, and put it in any room of your house. I could brighten up the kitchen or be the central decoration in a child’s room. You need to start with the trunk and a few branches. Like a tree in winter. This could be cut out of paper, card or felt and stuck to the wall or door. It could also be painted on. I personally think this is a great thing to do yourself and can be a special part of the setting up process with your family, but maybe you have a more arty friend who could help.
Then it is time to nurture your tree and watch it grow. Cut from either paper, card or felt flower and leaf shapes. I would use a variety of greens for the leaves and a couple of different shades for the flowers to add variety. You will be writing on these using a sharpie or fabric pen, so make sure you choose colours the writing will show up on, based on your pen colours. Keep the leaves in one pot and the flowers in another.
The leaves are your gratitudes. You could choose to do daily or weekly or even just random moments to pick a gratitude, write it on your leaf and stick it to the tree. I would recommend making this daily for at least a week to get your tree growing.
The flowers are for the bigger things. You decide within your family what is the best use for the flowers, but some ideas could be: for a new skill (particularly good for younger children or those struggling with learning at any age), big successes (achieved something mega or tried really hard at something very difficult for that person), achieved a specific goal, or something you just happen to feel extreme gratitude for. Set the flowers based on what your family needs most. These will be less regular than the leaves.
Adding to the tree can be a lovely thing to do before bed, a chance to calm down and think about the day. Make sure your child(ren) see you and ideally your partner doing your leaves and flowers too. They are much more likely to do what you do than what you say and this is a habit that is just if not more valuable for you than them. While this may seem like a lot of work, once it is set up and growing, it gently fits into the rhythm of life and will help to fill you with energy.
We would love to see your gratitude trees, so pop over to our Facebook group to share a photo or even tag us in an Instagram story.
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