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November is National Gratitude Month. It can be a tricky concept for young children to comprehend fully but demonstrating thankfulness goes a long way and can have a lifelong impact. Teaching children about gratitude at home can inspire them to be more kindhearted, empathetic adults who understand the impact of showing and sharing appreciation.
Gratitude is much more than just learning good manners. It's a positive emotion you can express when feeling thankful for something. Spend time reviewing your child's experiences to help unlock past examples of gratitude. These conversations can be a great tool to help instill an optimistic perspective toward future experiences too.
Children learn so much from mimicking our actions and words. It's much harder for children to understand the concept of gratitude if it’s not practiced daily. Try pausing to express the way you’re feeling out loud. You could say something small like, "I'm so thankful I get to play outside with you today. I love sharing these moments with you." Expressing your feelings will boost their awareness.
After discussing the purpose and practice of gratitude, compliment your child when you hear them thanking others. Birthdays or holidays can provide the perfect opportunity to encourage appreciation. Older children may enjoy sharing this feeling through a craft activity or literacy exercise. Sit down together to create a thank you card. Depending on their age, have your child color a picture, practice writing words, or share a complete sentence.
Before bedtime each night, start making it a habit to reflect on the day and share moments of gratitude. This is a great way to deepen your connection to the topic and each other while ending the day on a positive note.
Give one or more of these activities a try and see what works best for you and your family. By teaching children such appreciation, you’ll help them become healthier, happier, and more respectful adults.