Teaching our kids gratitude is one thing that is tops on the list of values to teach. Strangely, our brains are designed to focus more on negativity and survival rather than enjoying the moment. Thankfully, we can change that easily be showing gratitude and remembering the great things that have happened. A memory jar is a perfect way to focus on the moment and relive those later in life.
You Don’t Need Anything Special!
A simple mason jar and some slips of paper are the first start, the second is making your kids a part of the memory jar. Taking time to decorate it will engage your children quickly and create excitement around this new adventure. You can start talking about the things you hope happens so you can put them in the jar. You can talk about all the little things that happen and why remembering them is wonderful.
Fill That Jar
Any event that makes your children super happy or excited, anything that you are proud of, and anything anyone else in the household is thrilled by should be written down on a slip of paper and put in the jar. The person who it happened to should be the one to write it (unless they are not of age to write their own or have a health issue in the way). The act of writing the event allows that moment to really seep into the soul and allow that person to be in the moment. Everyone present can congratulate them and share the excitement while clapping for an addition to the memory jar.
Revisit When You Want To
A lot of people do these jars and then read all the strips on New Year’s Eve. However, I suggest being loosey-goosey about it. Perhaps you or a family member are sad by something. Maybe the child didn’t succeed at getting the lead role in the play. Anything that happens that causes a bit of sadness should be addressed carefully. Allowing everyone to feel how they want to is first and foremost. After that, a trip down the memory jar lane can help put things in perspective. We accomplish a lot more than we give credit to ourselves!
When To Empty It?
Honestly, when you want to. I personally like to remove the old ones after a year, so I check it monthly now that we have used it for a while. However, I also allow the owner of a memory to make a decision on whether they should go or stay. Some memories that really help during a hard time might just need to stick around longer than a year. The important thing is to do what works for you and your family.
There is a lot of uneasiness in our world right now. Children are learning about shooter drills that can leave them feeling unsafe and uncertain about their lives. The pressure to be on top of everything and then some as a parent and caregiver is draining. It would be easy to allow those things to topple us but teaching your child how to appreciate what they have and what they have done is a good step at helping them navigate the world. And it helps to watch the parents practicing what they preach.