Creative Child

Gratitude: Helping Our Children Count Their Blessings

by Monisha Vasa, M.D.

A perspective of gratitude is one of the greatest gifts we can offer to our children.  Gratitude gives children a more thankful attitude as they move through life, improving their overall happiness and well being into adolescence and adulthood.  Fortunately, encouraging gratitude in kids does not have to take lots of time and effort. 

Here are some “Get Grateful Quick” strategies to try with your family:

1. Make gratitude a family affair:

Children learn by imitation, and are more likely to learn from what they see us do, rather than what we tell them to do.  Make it a point to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine as a family.  For example, start by telling your children what you feel particularly thankful for as you drive them to school in the morning, or tuck them into bed at night.  They will naturally follow suit. 

Moments like these become opportunities for connection and conversation, and help to encourage a daily practice of being thankful.  It is important not to force the issue if they are not immediately interested.  Just continue articulating your own gratitude; you will still be demonstrating an important idea that they will absorb over time.

2. Make gratitude tangible

It can help children to be able to visualize the idea of gratitude, in order to make it a more concrete concept for them.  For example, a fun idea for children is a “Happy Jar.”  As a family, write down on a piece of paper what made each person feel particularly happy that day.  Fold the papers up and drop them into the jar.  They can be taken out and shared at the end of a week, month, or year, as a way to remember all of the pleasurable moments that were experienced over time. 

Other ideas include reading children’s books that foster gratitude, or creating a gratitude journal together. Here are some ideas!


More tips cultivating gratitude on page 2...

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