Teaching kids about gratitude can be tough, as it’s an abstract concept for young children. It’s essential because being grateful helps kids become more sensitive, empathetic, and less demanding. Experts believe that gratitude leads to increased happiness for both kids and adults.
Children as young as 18 months can start learning about gratitude by understanding that they are taken care of by others. By age 4, they can grasp the concept of gratitude for people, things, acts of kindness, and love.
While learning to be grateful is a lifelong process, there are simple ways to instill gratitude in children in a gentle and relatable way. These activities help start conversations with kids and plant the seeds for a grateful and happy child.
How to Teach Kids to Be Grateful
1. Model gratitude out loud
Set an example by expressing appreciation and gratitude out loud in daily activities. This will help children understand and learn what things to be thankful for.
2. Make a gratitude tree or jar
Create a visual representation of gratitude such as a gratitude tree or jar. Each day, family members write one thing they are grateful for on a leaf for the tree or on a note for the jar.
3. Read books
Reading books with children exposes them to different perspectives and teaches gratitude through visual images and storytelling.
4. Make a gratitude collage
Create a gratitude collage with printed photos, magazines, and catalogs. Allow children to choose and cut out things they appreciate, displaying the collage where they can see it every day.
5. Donate with your children
Involve children in donating clothes and toys to teach them about generosity and the value of giving to others.
6. Talk about it
Engage in conversations with your children, prompting them to notice, think, feel, and do about gratitude in their lives.
7. Make gratitude part of your day, every day
Incorporate gratitude into daily routines, such as expressing thanks at the dinner table or before bed, to encourage children to practice gratitude regularly.