Teaching Kids How to Be Grateful Through Activities
Thanksgiving isn’t the only time we should express gratitude and thankfulness—it’s vital to show and practice thankfulness in our day-to-day lives. As parents, teachers, caregivers, and other professionals who work with children and students, it’s critical to teach children the value of gratitude from a young age.
- “Gratitude” Definition for Kids – appreciating the person or thing that did something good for you or made you feel happy.
- “Thankful” Definition for Kids – wanting to thank the person or thing that did something good for you or made you feel happy.
A child who is raised knowing how to feel and express gratitude usually grows up to be a well-rounded individual, with a greater level of mindfulness, self-efficacy, and interpersonal skills. In fact, the benefits of practicing gratitude and being thankful are scientifically proven.
Before we highlight activities and gratitude games for kids, let’s look at the benefits of being grateful.
The Value of Gratitude for Kids
La gratitud mejora la empatía
Research suggests grateful people are more likely to engage in a positive manner, even in the face of aggression, negative feedback, or unkindness, according to a Estudio de 2012 realizado por la Universidad de Kentucky. They were less likely to retaliate against others who had wronged them, expressing more empathy and sensitivity toward them.
La gratitud mejora la salud física
Otro estudio publicado en 2012 informó que las personas agradecidas experimentaron menos dolores, molestias y dolencias que otras personas y en general vivieron vidas más saludables. Además, aquellos que obtuvieron puntajes más altos en las escalas de gratitud tenían más probabilidades de participar activamente en prácticas de autocuidado, hacer más ejercicio y programar chequeos regulares con sus médicos.
La gratitud mejora el sueño
Those who write down things that they are grateful for in a gratitude journal just before bedtime reportedly sleep better and longer. (2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being)
La gratitud mejora la autoestima
Gratitude has been shown to reduce social comparisons, improve athletic and social confidence, and appreciate and celebrate the accomplishments of others. A grateful child exhibits these actions and attitudes which lead to improved self-esteem overall.
What can help is a list of gratitude quotes from influential people.
La gratitud puede ayudar a las personas que han experimentado un trauma
Expressing gratitude reduces stress, it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A estudio publicado en 2003 found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Additionally, a Estudio 2006 descubrieron que los veteranos de la guerra de Vietnam con mayores niveles de gratitud experimentaron tasas más bajas de trastorno de estrés postraumático (TEPT). En general, reconocer las cosas por las que tiene que estar agradecido, incluso durante los peores momentos de su vida, puede servir como un factor protector que fomenta la resiliencia.
La gratitud mejora la salud psicológica
Gratitude has been shown to decrease a wide variety of toxic emotions, such as resentment, prolonged anger, envy, persistent sadness, and regret. Having a grateful attitude is intrinsically linked to a sense of well-being, increasing overall happiness and positive emotions while reducing rates of depression.
La gratitud mejora las relaciones
Tan importante como es enseñar a nuestros hijos a usar sus modales y decir "Por favor" y "Gracias", agradecer a los demás por sus contribuciones también mejora las relaciones profesionales y personales. Un estudio de 2014 encontró que aquellos que expresan bien su gratitud tenían más probabilidades de hacer y mantener nuevos amigos que aquellos que no lo hicieron (el estudio de 2014 publicado en Emoción).
How can we instill the value of gratitude into our children? Here are some practical ways for teaching gratitude to kids.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” –Zig Ziglar
13 Gratitude Activities for Kids
1. Gratitude Jar
Keep a gratitude jar, also known as a thankful jar, somewhere accessible. If you are a parent, this may be on your kitchen table. If you’re a teacher, this may be on your desk or a special station in the classroom. If you’re a therapist, it may be in a prominent place in your office.
If possible, let the kids decorate it with their favorite colors or stickers. Each day, ask everyone (including yourself!) to write down one thing they’re thankful for and put it in the jar. These gratitude activities can help children reflect during particularly difficult days.
2. Gratitude Tree
Similarly, you can build a gratitude tree, or thankful tree together. Cut out leaves, have the kids write what they’re grateful for on them, and hang them on a branch.
3. Gratitude Walk
Take a gratitude walk together. Go on an evening stroll and look for things to be grateful for, like the beautiful leaves, the smell of rain, cars to drive, and friendly neighbors.
Have the kids write letters of gratitude to people they do not know personally, such as police officers, military personnel, the fire department, school administrators, bank tellers, and hospital employees. When possible, hand-deliver the letters with a special treat, or mail them.
5. Thank You Cards
Another great option is to write thank you cards to people you do know. You can write a thank-you letter to mom or dad, to grandma or grandpa for birthday gifts, or to a special teacher or pediatrician. Even your mailman or garbage truck drivers deserve appreciation!
6. Gratitude Collage
Haga un collage de cosas que usted y sus hijos aprecian. Mire revistas o obtenga imágenes en línea para imprimir. Pégalos juntos para un collage de gratitud y muéstralo con orgullo.
7. Alphabet Thanks
Play the “alphabet thanks” game. Have kids pick a letter of the alphabet at random and ask them to come up with one thing they’re thankful for that starts with that letter.
8. Gratitude by Numbers
Similarly, roll a pair of dice or pick a number between 1 and 10. Based on the number, have kids name that many things they love in this gratitude game.
9. Gratitude Journal
UNA gratitude journal for kids can have an amazingly positive effect on their overall happiness. Set them in the right direction by asking them to write down a few things that they are grateful for each day. Research shows that gratitude journaling has positive benefits for physical health and psychological well-being.
10. Family Gratitude Book
This is similar to the individual gratitude journal, but it is created together as a family. Each family member should add photos, notes, drawings, and mementos of anything they feel strongly about. It’s a good idea to keep it visible and add to it regularly, such as once a month at a family meeting or on birthdays and special holidays.
Involucre a los niños en la comunidad. Reúna alimentos para un banco de alimentos o sirva comidas en un refugio para personas sin hogar. Investigue organizaciones en su área que ofrezcan oportunidades de servicio. El servicio a los demás enseña gratitud de maneras que nada más puede hacer.
Donating helps your children understand how fortunate they are and everything they have to be grateful for, whether it be a roof over their heads, clothing, toys or a loving family. When your child outgrows their clothes or toys, encourage them to donate the items to families and children who have less.
Involve your children in the process by researching the available donation centers or charities in your community, and take them with you to make the donation.
Your family or organization could also hold a garage sale to raise funds. You can donate the money raised to a cause that you and your children find together, or use the money to buy groceries for your local food bank.
13. Reading Books
Books are a fantastic and fun way to teach your children about core values and morals. Leyendo a tus hijos from a young age, as well as helping them learn to read recreationally, can reap lifelong rewards. Fortunately, there are many great children’s books about practicing gratitude!
Echa un vistazo a algunos de nuestros favoritos:
In this book by Todd and Jackie Courtney, Max the mouse teaches the “power of gratitude” by showing the reader how he is thankful for everything in his life. All of the Max Rhymes books are written and illustrated to not only help children learn to read, but also to help them develop in areas like the expression of gratefulness and overall happiness. Just like prior generations remember traditional nursery rhymes, future generations will remember these positive thoughts at the subconscious level as they grow older.
Since it was first published 50 years ago, Shel Silverstein’s engaging picture book has offered a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and another’s capacity to love in return. The book is about a lifelong relationship between a selfless tree and an initially selfish child, who grows to realize that he has both friendship and unconditional love for which to be eternally grateful.
Inspired by the idea of being thankful for all that you have, “An Awesome Book of Thanks!” is beautifully written and fantastically illustrated by Dallas Clayton. It takes readers of all ages on a walk through a world of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, and all of life’s simple present moments, great and small. This timeless story is sure to be an instant classic and is perfect for anyone looking for a reminder of just how beautiful life can be.
This picture book and accompanying CD are a joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature, and the blessings of faith. It can be treasured by children and adults of all ages. It teaches kids to wonder at the world we live in and to be grateful for our everyday blessings.
This guide to daily happiness is not just for kids. We all need reminders of the benefits of positive thinking and behavior. It’s an important lesson for children, older kids, and adults alike that showing kindness and appreciation of others goes a long way to making this world a happier place for everyone, including ourselves. The author, Carol McCloud, uses a simple metaphor of an “invisible bucket” that we each carry around.
Kind words and actions “fill” others’ buckets and make them feel good, while unkind words and actions take away from them. When you’re a “bucket filler,” you make the world a better place to be. This 32-page picture book is perfect for children, parents, grandparents, teachers, and people that want to teach:
- Teach empathy
- Nurture kindness with loved ones
- Create a positive environment in their home, classroom, workplace, and community
Additionally, this book can be a tremendous resource when working with kids who are overcoming any adverse childhood experiences or trauma. It can help give children a voice and the words to say when they feel like their own bucket is being emptied. It also teaches them to show and practice gratitude to the people in their lives.
Written in Dr. Seuss-style rhyme, “The Blankful Heart” by Mr. Meus is a fun and touching tale of how the big-bellied Billy Babble cures his heart of its blanks. The Babbles in Babbleland have way too much stuff. Once Billy Babble, the richest of them all, begins to feel like something is missing, he sets out on a quest to fill his empty heart. The moral of this quirky story is, “A grateful heart is a happy heart.”
“The Thankful Book” celebra todas las pequeñas cosas por las cuales los niños pueden dar gracias. Desde actividades cotidianas como la lectura y la hora del baño hasta grandes comidas familiares juntas y un tiempo especial solo entre padres e hijos, el autor Todd Parr inspira a los lectores a apreciar todos los momentos especiales de la vida. Las divertidas caricaturas y frases inspiradoras alentarán a su hijo a celebrar las cosas que hacen que su corazón se sienta más agradecido.
As with any value in our lives, gratitude must be practiced. As we teach our children the importance of feeling thankful for the good things in our lives, we must also help them practice showing gratitude. Here are some ways to cultivate a lifestyle of thankfulness and mindfulness.
En general, no importa cuál gratitude activities you choose to incorporate, teaching gratitude will help your children grow up to be well-rounded, empathic, and caring adults. There is nothing quite like investing in the future of our world. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, caregiver, social worker, educator, or another professional working with children, know that you are making a difference. Children & #8217; s Bureau está agradecido por ti!