Growing a Grateful Girl: Teaching Kids About Gratitude

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As the holidays approach it brings about thoughts of joy, fellowship, and gratitude as we reflect on the year that has passed. We express what we are thankful for and our hopes for the future. It is a great time for teaching kids about gratitude and what it means to be grateful. 

Gratitude means being thankful, showing appreciation and returning kindness. Having a sense of gratitude is a blessing on so many different levels. By showing your appreciation for something or to someone, you make the other person feel good, and that makes you feel good in return. 

little girl with yellow flower in her hand. Growing a grateful girl; teaching kids about gratitude

One lesson that is good for a child to understand is that they won’t always get what they want. But being grateful for what they do have allows them to have an open mind and an open heart. Showing gratitude and being open allows those good vibes to bring more good into their lives. And who wouldn’t want that!?

Teaching Kids About Gratitude

We are our child’s first teacher. We teach them the very basics of life. We are their role models. So we have a very important job to teach them the values and traits they need to live a good life. 

One trait I am teaching my daughter is gratitude. It can be a hard concept for little ones to understand. They feel like the world revolves around them because that’s all they know at first. Having to share or not getting something they want is grounds for an atomic meltdown! It’s ok, we’ve all been there. But she will eventually get it, so I will continue to show her how to be appreciative and thankful. 

If you want your child to know what gratitude is, these are some key concepts that you can teach them to help them understand.

Showing Appreciation

When you appreciate something you know the value that it holds for you personally and you are thankful for it. A few of my daughter’s very first phrases have been thank you and you’re welcome or in her words “dankew” and “wel-come”. I try to teach her to express her appreciation when she gets something or someone does something for her.

My daughter is 2 years old and she has a few things that she just loves to do and that is: watch cartoons, read books, and color. Now coloring she doesn’t always get to do because she hasn’t quite figured out how NOT to color on the table, walls, and doors yet. Hey, I’m all for her coloring outside the lines, just not down her bedroom wall. So when I bring the crayons out she lights up like a Christmas tree. She’s so excited to do one of her most favorite activities. Because she doesn’t get them all the time she can learn to appreciate them and have fun with them when she can.

We’re using these printable worksheets from Education.com because I can teach her about colors, letters, and numbers while she has fun coloring.

little girl coloring a crossword puzzle
Leap into Fall with this fun crossword puzzle. Continue the spelling fun over at Education.com with more games, activities, and resources.
little girl coloring crossword puzzle
Leap into Fall with this fun crossword puzzle. Continue the spelling fun over at Education.com with more games, activities, and resources.

If your child is older, a good way to show appreciation is to keep a gratitude journal. It can help them express how they feel and what they are grateful for in a personal way. And reflecting back over it can help them see all the good they have given and received from others. 

Check out these soooo cute gratitude journals on Amazon!

Being Kind

Part of learning gratitude is to return kindness to others. Being kind to others shows them that you are considerate of other people around you. What a great quality to have! One of the first lessons children learn is to share with others. It can be a real struggle for these little ones to grasp (have you ever been in a preschool classroom??) Help your child learn to share by explaining to them why it is important. And help them feel like they aren’t losing something but instead giving someone else an opportunity to enjoy it as well.

Kids love reading and listening to stories. Read a book about sharing to your kids and help them understand why its good to share. Check out these books about sharing below.

Helping Others

Learning to help others is a good way to understand gratitude. By helping someone else out, it makes the other person feel appreciative. Volunteering is a great way for kids to see what is outside of their own little world around them. Kids tend to only know what they see at home or at school.

Taking your kids to volunteer somewhere such as a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or a nursing home, let’s them get a broader sense of the world. They see different people and different situations than they are used to seeing.

By volunteering, they are giving of their time and effort to help others. It is a good way for a child to learn to help others and to be grateful for what they do have. Check out these children’s volunteer ideas from Parent.com.

Final Thoughts

I want my daughter to be a kind-hearted and well-rounded individual. My hope is that I can teach her these things by being a good role model for her. Teaching kids about gratitude is an important lesson in becoming that kind of person. Use these ideas to teach your own children these valuable life lessons.

You may also be interested in:

Teaching Kids the Value of Constructive Criticism

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little girl running, girl holding face, two girls hugging and smiling; growing a grateful girl: teaching kids about gratitude

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