Have you seen the idea of capturing special moments of the year by writing a few words on a slip of paper, then keeping the papers in a jar for next new year’s? These are called Happy and Joy Jars, or maybe Smile or Gratitude, and what a wonderful idea to do with kids. These jars will encourage finding joy and happy moments. The memories will strengthen family bonds and other relationships. Kids will practice a skill that they will need all their lives, that of being able to find happiness and joy in the little things, especially when the big things seem bad.
To create a jar, you don’t even need to start with a jar. It could be a small basket, box, tin, bottle, small bucket, or other container. Once you have shared the idea with the kids, they can help decorate whatever it is with pictures, color, stickers, glitter, or other items. For years, our family had has a jar for found nature treasures on a shelf in the kitchen. It has a picture of a rainbow and says Goodies. We found a different spot for the shells and rocks and have our jar right handy in the kitchen. Speaking of kitchens, mom and author, Jaden Hair, from Steamy Kitchen says that her family included some little trinkets and charms in the jar that family members could take with them in a pocket when needed. (Maybe those are called bad Hair days?) We’ll skip those items for the health of our washing machine but it’s another idea.
Young children will need our help to write things down, but they can draw a picture, or color a smile or happy face on the paper beside the words. These jars are a sort of reverse bucket list. Instead of one long list of things we want to do, it’s a lot of small lists of things we have done, like learned to ride a bike, got a kitty-cat, or had a play-date with a friend–moments of joy and happiness. Adults include their moments too. Then, in a year we get to remember them together. Does your family have a happy jar?
P.S. These jars can start anytime, like a birthday, or move to new place, first day of the season, or any other day.