How to Teach Gratitude
Did you know that November is National Gratitude Month? This is the perfect time to talk to your child (or children) about what it means to be grateful. Teaching gratitude can be challenging because it’s an abstract concept. There is no one picture that represents gratitude (or being grateful). Nonetheless, it’s never too early to teach your child about gratitude, and we’re here to share some of our favorite activities.
As you probably know, we love using books to teach concepts and skills. If you do a quick search online, you will find extensive lists containing books about gratitude. Here are a few of our favorite books:
After reading books about gratitude with your children, it can be helpful to create or participate in activities that further illustrate the concept. We know that the best way to learn is by doing. A simple way to promote being thankful is to have your child write (and send) thank you notes. Most people associate thank you notes with birthdays/presents, but it’s important to remember that you can thank people all year round! Start by asking your child, “Can you think of two or three people you would like to write a thank you letter to?” You will be surprised who they come up with! If your child is not yet writing, you can always have them dictate to you and you do the writing. If they need additional support, provide sentence starters (e.g. I am thankful for ____ because _____.”).
For children who are writing or love to draw, be sure to check out My First Gratitude Journal. This book allows children to be creative while tapping into their own happiness that stems from appreciation. The prompts will get your child thinking, and it will encourage your child to appreciate the little things in life. Now, more than ever, we need to find and focus on the positive things in our lives!
Another easy and engaging activity is the Gratitude Challenge. A Gratitude Challenge involves identifying things or people that you are grateful for and then expressing gratitude for them. A simple way to start a Gratitude Challenge at home is to use conversation starters. This is a great activity to do during mealtime, before bed, or in the car. You can come up with your own questions or find question sets online. You could even create a conversation jar and have each family member pick a new question during dinner. If you need help getting started, you can use these conversation starters from Creative Family Fun. Remember, finding ways to express gratitude is what makes this activity extra special!
A gratitude scavenger hunt is another entertaining activity that will really get your children thinking (and moving). Check out this fun scavenger hunt from Bestow. We love Bestow’s recommendation to take photos along the way to create a scrapbook that can be referenced afterwards. Similarly, you can also play Random Acts of Kindness Bingo from The Many Little Joys.
As Maya Anelous once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Let’s empower our children this month and focus on being grateful.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank YOU! Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and for supporting TherapyWorks. We would not be where we are today without the support from our families and the professionals that we work with as well as the dedication of our team of therapists. We truly love what we do, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with children all over the country!
If you have specific questions about your child’s development please reach out! The TherapyWorks team is happy to answer your questions and provide recommendations!