Helping Children Show Gratitude

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

 

We recently wrote about teaching children the concept of gratitude. While much of that article centered on what you can do to model and encourage the concept of gratitude, we turn now to helping your children express the gratitude they are learning to notice and feel.

 

Here are some ideas to get you started!

 

1) Write thank-you notes: This is the old fashioned skill that never goes out of style.  Whether it is birthdays, holidays, or just the occasional nice gesture your child can be thankful for, encourage them to write and send a thank you note. The age of your child dictates how much writing is actually done. The youngest children can add a scribble or their name to a note you write. Children who have begun to master writing can write a few words of their own. A picture drawn by the child, or a photograph of the child enjoying a gift is a wonderful addition. Download Two Little Hands Cards Hand-y Craft

 

2) Say Grace: If your family practices a religion, a simple prayer before a meal or bedtime where thanks is expressed for the food or day is a wonderful practice. If your family does not practice a religion, a few moments of mindfulness before a meal or at the end of the day can serve the same purpose. Whether subscribing to a higher power, or taking a moment to appreciate the food that comes from the earth and the animals, this practice teaches children to express gratitude in a consistent manner and is a bonding experience for the family.

 

3) Make a List: Brainstorm with your child all that they are thankful for. You could write a simple list, or maybe create a “My Thankful Book” for your child to illustrate. Help them become mindful of the good all around them for which they can be thankful. Include special people, pets, toys, events, etc.

 

Kids have a lot to be thankful for! Learning to express gratitude in concrete ways helps them to grow into gracious adults who appreciate what they have, and what they’ve had to work for. A little guidance and celebration from you can take these skills very far! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Sources:

Teaching Kids Gratitude (Parenting.com)

Gratitude: Teaching Your Kids the Art of Being Graceful (More4Kids.com)

 

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