Gratitude is being thankful and appreciating that you have something or someone. As parents we teach our children at a very young age to say “Thank You” at the right moments, but you may not realise just how much good an “attitude of gratitude” can do for your kids.
They are never too young to get the benefits of gratitude activities (and we are never too old as well, while we are at it!). Here are some fantastic and easy gratitude activities for kids that you can add to their daily life.
Why is Gratitude good for kids?
Practising gratitude helps everybody, with studies showing that the person expressing gratitude feels as good as the person on the lovely receiving end. Practising gratitude can be so much more than saying thanks, and doesn’t even have to be given to someone to have great benefits.
While kids don’t really start to experience empathy and understanding how other people feel until after they are around six years old, you can start involving them in family gratitude activities much younger than that. This not only makes it easier for them to feel what other people feel, but it boosts their physical and mental health as well.
Why you need to practise Gratitude
Gratitude can be easier to show and feel when you are in a happy and calm state of mind. If we encourage our kids to practise gratitude often, then this feeling will be more likely to appear when they are having a rough day too.
Practising something often makes you better at it, and means it comes easier to you whenever you need to use your skills.
If you’d like more ideas for gratitude activities for kids, there is a great article and some other wonderful resources here
Gratitude Activities for Younger Kids
What are you thankful for today?
This is one of the easiest activities, and Bluey even had a supercute episode where the Heelers did it. As a family, each member takes their turn to say what they were thankful for that day. It could be as simple as something that made them happy or something that stood out for them.
It works well at dinner, but if you struggle to get time to sit down together, you could also try this activity while bathing the kids or tucking them into bed.
At the end of each week, each member of the family writes on a piece of paper what their favourite part of the week was, and puts this in a jar. Younger kids can either draw theirs or you could write it for them.
As a family, you can choose a day to open the jar together and read some of the entries. This activity gives you a double dose of gratitude – both when you write the note and then again when you read them.
Grow with Gratitude
Sunny Folks Toy Shop has some great products that encourage educational and mindful play. Like their Grow with Gratitude kit. This kit is a mindful growing kit to empower and inspire our children. It is about combining our connection to nature and our connection with self. Each Grow with Gratitude Kit includes; Basil seeds, Chive seeds, Parsley seeds, biodegradable pots, sustainable coco pellets, bamboo plant markers, 3 affirmation cards, Gratitude crystal, Gratitude journal and Growing instructions. You read more and purchase yours here
View other great items from Sunny Folks here
This is a sweet mindful activity that is brilliant for all ages and even babies in strollers can appreciate the benefits of this activity.
As a family, go for a short walk around the neighbourhood, in a local park, or somewhere interesting and new. Notice and talk about the different things that you can sense – what you can see, hear, touch and perhaps smell. Talk about your favourite things that you notice from the walk.
Gratitude Activities for Older Kids
Buy your child a book that becomes their gratitude journal, or let them choose an attractive book for themselves.
At the end of day, get your child into the habit of writing down 3-5 things that they were thankful for that day. What made them happy or made them feel good. Encourage them to think of new things and to go into smaller details as they get older – the more descriptive they are the more they have noticed.
Encouraging gratitude talk in other forms
As your kids get older, you can encourage them to recognise gratitude talk in other forms. By going beyond the basic questions about what you are happy about or thankful for at this time.
Encourage other questions such as:
- What is the most interesting thing that happened today?
- Was there something that surprised you today?
- What was something you did that you are proud of today?
Affirmations are such a lovely, positive and empowering activity that can be incorporated into the daily lives of our children. They can be added to your childs’ daily routine or even shared as part of a ritual that you may like to journey together, remember always go with what feels right for you and your child. Check out Sunny Folks affirmation cards here
Supporting their own causes
Encourage your child to become interested in causes or charities that are meaningful for them, and help them to get involved. They might like to bake to raise money for a cause, or write to their member of parliament to raise awareness of something.
What can you do to help?
As a parent, and the most important model of behaviour they have right now. There are lots of things you can do to bring gratitude daily into their lives.
Good examples include:
- Looking for opportunities to thank your kids, partner and others for small things, especially the stuff that usually goes unnoticed.
- Thank them for good behaviour and for when they are kind to others
- Watch yourself for chances to say how thankful you are, rather than to apologise for something (such as saying, ‘Thanks for your patience,’ rather than ‘Sorry I’m late’).
- Looking for ways to be kind to strangers. Such as thanking someone for letting you in front at the supermarket, or getting the kids involved in wrapping some gifts for a charity at Christmas.
Gratitude for Kids: Final Thoughts
Expressing gratitude regularly gets kids in touch with all of their emotions. It can help them to grow their confidence in expressing emotions and feelings of all kinds.
Gratitude helps everyone to become more perceptive about the world and people around them and to notice things big and small. It also teaches perspective, and helps us to understand that even though there are bad things in life. That we can’t control everything, there is always some good to be found in each day.