The holiday season is officially here and it’s an excellent time to discuss gratitude with children. Encourage kids to take a moment to appreciate the little things. Be aware of the special people or things in their lives that may be taken for granted. Pause to reflect on the joy in life and feel a deep appreciation.
Encourage gratitude in children with these simple activities:
- Get in the habit of saying please and thank you.
- Write a note of thanks to a teacher, coach, or family friend.
- Keep a gratitude log.
- Create a gratitude jar and place slips of paper inside listing things that you are thankful for throughout the week. Pull slips out occasionally and read aloud.
- Share a moment of thankfulness around the dinner table.
- Complete a gratitude challenge as a family or classroom.
- Discuss, “Why am I grateful to be me?”
- Participate in acts of giving and charity.
When children practice thankfulness, it helps them focus on the present and gain self-awareness. Being grateful has been linked to contentment and happiness. Adults can model gratitude and help children to appreciate the gifts in their own lives. Encourage gratitude by challenging kids to think about how it feels to receive generosity, and in turn, how they make others feel with acts of kindness.
Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.