How Do You Teach Your Kids To Be Thankful?
Gratitude is linked to happiness. Big statement – yes! Scientifically proven, yes again! Owning a sense of gratitude and taking time to cultivate it does have an impact on well-being which will certainly affect our child’s whole life. That’s why teaching our children to be grateful is such an important part of the job of parenting. A lot of us don’t know where to begin when it comes to the task of teaching kids gratitude. I was part of that group.
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After a lot of research, I strategically implemented teaching gratitude into my own homeschool curriculum and our family life including developing some new family traditions. Below, I have put together ten of the ways I have taught my child gratitude over the years.
Five Great Ways To Teach Gratitude
The 3 Good Things Daily List
This is actually very effective for kids and adults alike. It’s as simple as it sounds. Simply start every day by writing down three things you are grateful for. We begin our homeschool day like this and it sets everyone off on the right foot. If your child attends a public school you can add this to your morning ritual or make it an end of day activity.
If you want to be more specific offer a bit of a prompt. For example, ask your kids to list three people they are grateful for. The next day, three places they are grateful for. And then maybe three animals they are grateful for. If you do use prompts consider giving your child a chance to select some topics too.
Practice Recognizing The Silver Lining
Life is full of ups and downs. There is no way to avoid that. However, by encouraging our kids to recognize the silver lining in a disappointing situation, you can help them learn to own a sense of gratitude that has staying power.
For example, imagine your family hike has been canceled for rain. Everyone is disappointed and maybe a bit cranky. Sit with your child and talk it through. For example, you could say,
“It’s a good thing we didn’t get caught out in all that rain. I’m glad we are warm and dry together. Aren’t you? Also, now we have a brand new chance to think of a fun way to spend the day together. Maybe we could bake cookies together? What would you like to do?”
The most important part of teaching our child gratitude is to lead by example. So finding and expressing the silver linings in situations when we are disappointed ourselves is important too.
Keep A Gratitude Jar
We have been doing this for many years now and it’s really sweet looking back at the little slips of paper from years past. That alone is worth the effort. But there is so much more.
First, here is how you create a gratitude jar. Simply grab a canning jar or upcycle a spaghetti sauce jar or water bottle. Add a ribbon or a label (like this one here). You can also have your child draw or paint the label. Then cut up small pieces of paper or set out a few sticky note pads beside the jar with different colored pens. Each family member gets their own color pen. Just like that, you have a Gratitude Jar.
Now encourage everyone once a day or at least once a week to write down something they are grateful for and put it in the jar. We like to do this in the month of November and then read them on Thanksgiving. This is a fun way to get the whole family involved in learning gratitude.
Take A Gratitude Challenge / Create A Gratitude Journal
There are Gratitude Challenges available in many different styles. I like to do the photography ones myself but in our homeschool, we do gratitude challenges those that offer writing prompts, creating an annual Gratitude Journal.
You can check out our list of Gratitude Writing Prompts right here or you can grab those specially designed for kids that are included in our Gratitude Bundle. If you prefer, you can always create your own. Here are some example questions:
- A place you feel cozy and secure.
- A trip you loved.
- Your favorite smell.
- A goal you achieved.
- A sound that makes you happy.
Encourage your child to explore the topic in at least one paragraph. The longer they think about it the more they tend to appreciate it. In the end, they have a lovely gratitude journal that makes a sweet keepsake.
Memorize Gratitude Quotes
There are many ways you can encourage your family to memorize gratitude quotes. We like to do a quote of the week on our whiteboard. You may just pick one a month. But either way, by encouraging our kids to hold on tightly to sayings like the one below and encouraging discussions on what the writer or speaker means, we can teach powerful lessons about being thankful.
The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.Mary Davis
One way I have used these quotes and scriptures is in creative writing. For example, I might assign writing time and the prompt is that a character in the story needs to quote the above saying from Mary Davis. Exercises like this help our kids to see how these words could enter a possible real-life situation or play around with the ways this lesson might enter a fictional scene. Either way, they are absorbing it and really thinking about how it could apply.
Complete A Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
This is a fun way to help your child recognize the many things they have to be grateful for that are constantly surrounding them. It gives them the opportunity to seek and find things they are grateful for in their own space.
We offer a fun Gratitude Scavenger Hunt in our shop but you can also always create your own by using prompts such as:
- A book that makes me happy.
- A special gift someone gave me.
- A picture of someone special to me.
- Something that smells wonderful.
- Something that represents a skill I have.
Teaching Kids Gratitude Bundle Includes the Following:
- 15 Gratitude Challenge Writing Prompts
- My Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
- My Three Good Things Weekly Calendar
- Our Family Gratitude Jar label and slips.
- Quotes and Scripture About Gratitude
- Two Thank You Note Cards
Here are some other great resources we offer to help teach your kids gratitude.
- 30 Days of Gratitude Writing Prompts
- Gratitude Jar Printable Label and Daily Entry Slips
- How To Make A Christmas Delivery Gratitude Basket
- Gratitude Worksheet Printable
- Create a Break Room Basket for Health Care Workers
- Quotes and Scripture About Gratitude
Thank you so much for visiting us today. We hope you found this article useful and that it has offered some inspiration!
Wishing you blessings and favor,
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