Teaching Children Gratitude

“There is always something to be grateful for…”

 In a recent study on gratitude, it was found that teaching children appreciation and thankfulness by the age of 5 contributes to growing up feeling happier.

Understanding gratitude and having opportunities to experience feeling grateful were shown to be important life lessons to teach in grades K-8, as it helps lead to more feelings of optimism in adulthood. In addition, exposing children to Thanksgiving stories and gratitude activities in elementary and middle school leads to better engagement.

Middle school children who are grateful for who they are, where they come from, and what they have, are shown to have a good social network and support system and allows for them to feel more satisfaction in school and at home.

Here are three creative ways to teach children about gratitude during the Thanksgiving holiday at school or at home:

  1. Create a gratitude journal.

Provide children with time to reflect and write a few minutes before bed or when they wake up about 5-10 things, they are most grateful for. This will keep gratitude on top of their minds and help them to feel better throughout the day.

  1. Get hands-on and make a gratitude collage!

This activity can be done in a classroom setting or at home during the holiday season.

Children can choose pictures and sayings that they are thankful for. The final collage can be framed and hung up in the classroom or at home.

  1. Start a gratitude jar.

All you need is an empty jar. Children can decorate it any way they choose and throughout the day families or peers can write on a piece of paper what they are feeling grateful for and put it in the jar. When there’s free time, you can take a moment to read what’s found in the jar.

Thanksgiving has many messages and teaching opportunities. At Beth Emet School we believe the most important message is about taking a moment to reflect upon our lives with thankfulness. Reflect upon the importance of what and who you are thankful for over this past year.

You can be thankful for others by expressing appreciation and simply by saying thank you for making an impact in your life. A second important message is about giving.

Learn more at www.bethemetschool.org