How to Teach Children Gratitude
I wanted to take some time and share some tips on how to raise a grateful child. Unfortunately teaching gratitude is not a miracle one time discussion or activity, but I can guarantee the work you put in will not be wasted. Raising grateful children goes so far beyond saying, “Thank you”. It’s being mindful, happy, finding fulfillment, love and appreciation for oneself, nature and all that surrounds us.
Here are a few tools you can begin with!
Express Gratitude to Others:
Let your child witness you, their role model, expressing gratitude. Whether it’s to your child for getting dressed without asking, thanking a stranger for holding the door, or baking your neighbours cookies because they shovelled your driveway for you. It seems simple, but we get into a routine or zone and sometimes miss the small things.
Write it Out:
Have your child keep a daily gratitude journal (such as The Making of a Grateful Heart!) and complete it together. A guided journal will form the habit, and with consistency they will begin thinking about reasons to feel grateful without being prompted.
As a family, look for reasons to be grateful wherever you are. You may be driving, going for a nature walk or just hanging out at home. Spark the conversation in different environments and watch as your family becomes more aware of whats really around you.
If your little ones are like mine, they love crafts and anything interactive. Two of my favourites are having my children draw a picture of what they’re grateful for, and making a gratitude tree. Our tree is more of a plant, but you get the idea. We each take a few tags and write on them what we’re grateful for, then hang them on the branches or leaves. Keep the plant or tree where you will see it daily, and it will be another reminder of practicing/being grateful. Feel free to switch out the tags as often as you’d like! There’s a photo of ours in this post!
Trust me parents, I know we have enough on our plates. But if you make practicing and encouraging gratitude fun, I promise it won’t feel like work! It’s another way to enjoy quality family time together. For some added inspiration, here are some benefits of practicing daily gratitude:
- Positive mindset
- Happy, just because!
- Self acceptance and love
- Improves self esteem
- Reduces aggression