Gratitude Prayer Flags

Very young children have an expectation that all good things will come their way. It is a pretty good place to be. Gratitude, however, means taking a step back from this space and looking at what has come our way, sifting through it and feeling love for those good things.

It isn’t very easy to cultivate this kind of soul mood with very young children. You can’t sit down with them and say “Now, what are you grateful for?” I am not sure that gratitude is something that very young children experience on a conscious level, although it may come out in a physical way – expressions of joy, cuddles, caring play and precious out-of-the-blue remarks that make your heart sing. I think it is a pretty important skill to learn, and one that we can teach through imitation – that is by demonstrating gratitude in our everyday living.

There are a few ways we can show gratitude at home. They are simple, and some are considered old-fashioned now – but we make an effort to do them regularly:

– saying a blessing before meals

– acknowledging thanks and praising others for their achievements (my goal this year is to write more thank you letters)

– talking about our day in terms of what we experienced, what we enjoyed and what we learned.

For playgroup this week we made prayer flags – little colourful reminders of happiness and thanks to flutter in our windows. To be honest painting with children is not one of my favourite experiences – I have troubles getting over the inevitable spills of colour and the need to clean up afterwards. But it is so worth the preparation and the patience.


The children drew their own thing and I talked about the messages I was writing and the love I put into my pictures as I drew them. The littlest one was pretty grateful for the opportunity to paint – on herself. And it was a while before I realised she was just as happy to paint with a brush and plain water …

My son is a bit older and he caught the idea of the exercise quickly. Here he is grateful for his strength, which he used to create a straw bale cubby in our yard. This cubby has brought many hours of joyful playing and constructing.

We made them with an old bed sheet ripped into squares, felt pens and watered-down fabric paints. Hung to dry and stitched on to a ribbon. What are you grateful for?


4 thoughts on “Gratitude Prayer Flags

  1. Thank you Jen. I just bought tibetan prayer flags, they just arrived this week and i immediately gave them away to a good friend. Your gratitude prayer flags are are exactly what I wanted without even realising. I can not wait to begin creating some flags with my children. Your flags are simply lovely.

    • Hooray! I’m so glad you like them too Lena. They are giving me lots of joy. Make a big deal out of it with your girls – have some tea and cake and spend some time together chatting about good things while you paint. Let them help you stitch them on to the ribbon too. It’s so worthwhile 🙂 And be grateful your girls are older …. took me ages to realise that Linden was just as happy to paint with her own brush and a jar of water … much less mess! Bless her little one year old heart …

    • They were wonderful to make and many of the playgroup families have added to theirs (we only made four squares at playgroup) and have strung them up at home. I’m pleased to hear that other playgroups have given it a go too. It was a beautiful exercise in peace and gratitude to experience with my own children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s