Monday, November 22, 2010

Teach Children Gratitude

If you could teach your children a skill that might help them be happier as adults, live longer, and reach goals better, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?  What if there was evidence that this same skill also improved kids’ attitudes towards school and family?  What is this amazing skill? Simply, gratitude.
There is an increasingly large amount of research showing that a grateful attitude can affect many different facets of your life.  Dr. Robert Emmons, at the University of California, Davis, has recognized and published information about the benefits of gratitude for over a decade.  Grateful people tend to be more optimistic, energetic, and empathetic.  There is even evidence that gratitude can improve your physical well-being, helping your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
How can you help your kids become grateful people?  The possibilities are endless. Here’s a few ideas:
  • At Thanksgiving, take turns announcing something you are thankful for.
  • As part of a bedtime routine, talk about 2-3 things from your child’s day that he/she is grateful for.
  • Use words like “grateful,” “thankful,” “thank-you,” and “appreciate” frequently so your young children can learn them.
  • Draw pictures with your kids of things they’re grateful for. Display these pictures and talk about them.
  • Redirect greedy attitudes toward grateful attitudes. When your children say, “I want…” respond by helping them identify things they have that they are very grateful for.  Help them remember how happy they were when they received different toys or treats or experiences.
  • Young children learn habits easiest that they observe in people they are attached to.Practice being grateful!  Look for things to be grateful about and announce them aloud.  Try “I’m so glad today is warm and sunny!” “I appreciate your smile!”  “Thanks for helping me sweep!”  “What a great parking spot we found,” or perhaps more often, “Isn’t it wonderful that our legs work so well and can carry us all the way to the store!”  You might just reap some of the benefits you’re trying to give to your kids!
original article posted at I thought this was a perfect subject to think about this week. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. Adopt the attitude of Gratitude this season and help teach the children around you.


  1. I think these are great ideas. I think that sometimes we focus on the negative, and children learn that. If we instead focus on the things we are thankful for, we find that we have a lot of blessings!

  2. Thanks, Stacy for your thoughts. Your kids are very lucky to have you as their mom.