5 Tips To Teach Gratitude To Kids

Being grateful is something that we quite often tell our children to be, but have we ever stepped back and actually looked at whether we have taught them what gratitude is and how to practice it? Why should we assume that they just know how to do it naturally? Because at the end of the day just like anything else, it is something that must be taught first prior to being able to use it.

 

Teaching gratitude can be done in a number of ways, and I would like to say that no one way is better than another, some will be direct in relation to teaching it and some will be indirect. Some will be deliberate and some will be subtle whilst interacting with your kids. But if you are ready to take on the ownership of actually teaching our kids what gratitude and how to use it then read on ahead.

 

  1. Begin the day with a list of gratitude

Sit as a family at breakfast (no tech) and ask each other some things they are grateful for in general. This is so easy to incorporate into your daily schedule and in fact it will actually push you to slow down before the day has even begun. Write a list together of things that everyone is grateful for and ask them “why”. By doing so you will enable your kids and yourself to create depth with what you re actually grateful for. It will end up being more than a sentence, you will associate memories or images with it.

 

  1. In moments of stress asy outloud what YOU are grateful for

Sounds a bit odd, but remember not all teaching is direct. Actually most of what our kids learn is actually from observation of the environment and those around them. So by virtue, if your kids can see that in a stressful moment you talk about what you are grateful for in the situation (a positive perspective) your kids will subconsciously and sometimes consciously pick this up. You will also realise that you will start to feel better, because no one can be grateful at the same time as being angry or stressed.

 

  1. Draw pictures of what you are grateful for from that day (age dependant)

This is perfect for the little ones, who we all know love to draw. By talking about gratitude and explaining it in ways of happiness whilst also drawing it, you are encouraging your kids to use multiple senses to learn and practice gratitude. Research shows that when we use more than one sense in a task it is strengthened within our memory.

  1. Have a gratitude competition

By making it fun to list of things they are grateful for, you are changing the focus of your little ones. This is a great exercise when that tantrum has kicked off, we want to refocus their energy onto something positive. So tell them you want to have a “gratitude race”, one after another list things that you are grateful for and make sure you laugh and giggle with them! Remember, the more senses the better ability to learn.

  1. End the day with gratitude

Just like we began the day, just as we are tucking the kids into bed, ask them what they are grateful for from today. If your kids are still learning the concept of gratitude, it helps to scaffold their learning with explaining that it is like what made them happy today and they are glad to have in their life.

 

These are some simple was to incorporate gratitude and teaching gratitude into your little ones life. Remember, just like any skill, it needs to be taught first before it can be practiced and mastered. It might seem like a hassle doing this at the beginning, but remember by you practicing this to you are developing the skill and perspective in yourself as well. Everyone wins!