“Please” and “thank you” are often among the first phrases that we teach our children. However, as we get older, we realize that being grateful is more than just saying “thank you.” It’s never too early to teach children how to practice gratitude, and this is a great time of year to do it!
Being grateful might not come come naturally to many of us. That’s why it’s so helpful for caregivers teach their kids how to practice gratitude. The concept of being grateful is not an easy one to understand, especially for young children, but the key is for kids to begin learning how to express thanks beyond the act of simply saying it.
Our “Thankful” song is a great example of the many things kids can be grateful for throughout each day.
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude with Children
Okay, it may seem like a cliche, but there are many reasons why it’s beneficial to teach children about gratitude. Children who practice gratitude year round are likely to:
- Experience positive emotions such as joy, optimism, and love
- Demonstrate kindness to others
- Have more resilience with setbacks
- Feel confident in themselves
- Cope with stress more effectively
5 Ways to Practice Gratitude with Children
1. Set a good example ✨
When it comes to behavior, one of the most important thing parents can do is to be good role models. Children look up to their adults to see what’s acceptable and what’s not. Honesty, integrity, empathy, kindness, and gratefulness are best taught to your child by practicing them yourself.
Make a habit of giving thanks or calling loved ones to tell them you appreciate them. Did your child finish their chores with no complaints? Give praise and tell them how much it means to you. They’ll normalize this behavior and learn mimic it naturally.
Practicing gratitude at the end of each day is a great way to get your little one to appreciate the little things in life. Was it sunny and beautiful today? Was tonight’s dinner extra delicious? Were the evening cartoons really funny?
Tell your child about all the things you appreciate. Then, ask your child about the most wonderful moments in their day and rejoice in how lucky you both are to have experienced them!
3. Encourage your child to help others 🌳
Lending a helping hand is another great way for kids to develop a sense of gratitude. Volunteer with your child at a local children’s hospital, collect canned food to donate to a shelter, bake holiday cookies for the neighbors, or walk an elderly woman’s dog.
Get your kids excited about volunteering by choosing work that produces results they can see. Giving thanks and receiving gratitude from others are equally meaningful.
Another way you can encourage kids to help others is by volunteering to plant trees with a local organization. Every time you drive by the tree, you can say “You planted that tree!” They’ll feel an exciting sense of accomplishment, and they’ll also understand the work that goes into all the trees and flowers in public spaces.
4. Write thank you cards together 💌
Everyone loves a sweet thank you note! Ask your child to think of people who they can give gratitude to. A teacher. A friend. Local firefights. Together you can write a thank you card and deliver it to that person.
This is a great way to set up positive habits for kids and to enjoy the good feeling of appreciating others for their kindness.
5.️ Keep a gratitude journal or jar 📓
It can be easy to lose track of the things we’re grateful for in the chaos of life. That’s why it’s beneficial to write things down so you can reflect upon them later. Get into a habit of writing down 5 things you’re grateful for! Choose a special day where your family has 10 minutes of downtime, Sunday evenings for example.
Have your child participate by drawing pictures of what they’re thankful for or you can write the words for them in big bold letters. Another fun way to do this is to have a jar on display and anytime your child thinks of something they’re grateful for, they can write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of each month, your family can look through all the things you’ve been thankful for.
It may not seem like a lot, but the repetition of encouraging kids to reflect on what they’re grateful for is really powerful.
Practicing Gratitude with Lingokids
Interested in learning more about how children can practice gratitude with Lingokids? Download the app and check out the content on our YouTube channels! Let us know how you practice gratitude with your child by tagging us on social media.