It’s important to cultivate gratitude in our children. The experts agree that individuals who feel grateful are often happier, more resilient, and healthier. This Alphabet Gratitude List is a great idea to get started with your family (or for yourself) to make each day better and focus on positive thoughts.
Alphabet Gratitude List
However, our children often struggle with entitlement and the lack of a grateful attitude. Is gratitude something we can teach? How can we cultivate an attitude of gratitude in our children and in our homes?
On this page, you’ll learn:
- What you might not be teaching your children about gratitude
- How to cultivate the grateful spirit your kids need
- Fun ways to practice gratitude with your kids at home and in your community
Gratitude is more than just saying “thank you.” Keep reading to learn about 4 different aspects of human gratitude.
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What is gratitude?
As a child, I was taught to say “please” and “thank you” at all times. In fact, many of us were taught these simple manners as ways to show gratitude. However, these days most experts recognize that gratitude is much more complex than saying thank you.
Gratitude, both the feeling and its expression are really much more complex. In order for children to learn to show gratitude, they must be able to use complex emotional knowledge and skills. Normally, children begin to develop this kind of emotional knowledge around age 4.
For example, experts have spent considerable time exploring how different families experience gratitude.
According to researchers from the Raising Grateful Children Project, gratitude actually has four parts:
- What we NOTICE in our own lives
- What we THINK about those things
- How we FEEL about what we have been given
- What we DO to express our appreciation
Many young children don’t engage in all four of these aspects without prompting. With encouragement and practice, your kids can begin to connect thinking and feeling gratitude with actions that show and express their own gratitude.
Gratitude is more than just how we feel, it’s also how we give back to others.
How to teach gratitude
Teaching children to be grateful begins at home. In fact, it’s often best to lead by example. Exhibiting a grateful attitude yourself will help your little ones to learn how to show gratitude in their own lives.
There are lots of creative ways you can help kids show their gratitude. Why not try a gratitude challenge with your children?
A to Z Gratitude List
Try this gratitude alphabet activity list with your kids to get started teaching your little ones at home:
Being willing to say you’re sorry is an important way you can show your love and appreciation for others. Learning to compromise is a valuable life skill to teach kids. Sometimes being right isn’t what’s most important. Teaching kids to apologize sincerely is a great way to cultivate grateful hearts.
Baking cookies together is an excellent way to help your children show gratitude. Use your favorite cookie recipe, let the kids help, and talk about who and what you’re thankful for while you bake. Then, deliver the cookies with handwritten notes from the kids to helpers in your community: police officers, firefighters, and nurses.
Collage of Gratitude
Making a collage together is a good way for little ones to begin to think about what they’re grateful for in life in a creative way. Talk about all the people, places, and things they’ve included in their special gratitude collage. Hang it up somewhere your children can easily see and be reminded of all the things they’re grateful for.
Giving to others can help anyone to feel gratitude for their blessings. Encouraging children to donate at an early age helps them to focus on others and begin to recognize just how fortunate they truly are.
Little ones can donate old toys to children in need, do chores to earn money to donate to a favorite charity, or donate their time helping a grandparent or teacher.
Establish a Ritual
Making gratitude a habit helps give kids lots of opportunities to practice, so establishing a ritual is a great way to make showing gratitude second nature for your children.
One way you can establish a gratitude ritual is to have everyone take turns saying one thing they’re thankful for from their day at dinner each night. I’m sure you can think of some easy gratitude rituals to incorporate into your daily life too.
Why not make practicing gratitude a family project? For example, creating a family bulletin board where everyone can add notes of gratitude is a great way to get everyone involved.
Encourage children to keep their own gratitude journal. It’s a good idea for adults too! Spend time writing down things you’re thankful for each day. Older children may choose to keep their journals private and young kids might need help. Another fun idea is for parents to write notes of gratitude to their children in the journals as well.
Helping others is something you can do at any age. It’s a simple but meaningful way to show gratitude. Children can hold doors, help with simple chores, and help to cheer people who aren’t feeling well.
Include Details to Show Appreciation
One important gratitude lesson for kids is to remember to include details. Showing appreciation for specific things helps to show that you truly are grateful.
Jar of Thanks
You could also create a gratitude jar for kids and parents to contribute to. Be sure to keep the jar, paper, and a pencil easily accessible for all family members. Then, encourage everyone to write down things they’re grateful for and add them to the jar. Reading the papers together can be a fun way to help children build a habit of gratitude.
Similar to journaling, listing all the things you have to be thankful for can be a really helpful way to focus on the good things even in difficult times. Encouraging children to remember all their blessings can help them to feel grateful even when they are sad or angry.
Make the Most of Moments
Take time to enjoy all life’s little moments! Learning to be grateful by being present is an important lesson especially now that technology has become a nearly constant companion. Teaching your children to be present and make the most of the moments they are given will keep them focused on what’s really important.
Notes or Cards
Writing notes or cards of appreciation and gratitude to friends and family is an excellent way to show you care. Getting your kids involved adds a fun and personal touch while teaching them the importance of showing others our gratitude.
Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are special little ways you can show gratitude and love for others. Encouraging kids to participate in these acts of kindness is one way to help them build an attitude of gratitude in a fun and easy way.
It’s a hard lesson for toddlers and sometimes even preschoolers, but learning to share our blessings with others is an important way to show gratitude for the blessings we have been given.
Offering sincere compliments and words of encouragement to loved ones is an easy way to lift their spirits and show our appreciation for their role in our lives. Compliments are free and easy for people of all ages to use to show gratitude.
Get your kids involved in volunteer work to help them become aware of their blessings and learn to feel grateful for their good fortune. You can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or volunteer to clean up trash in your community.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, brings on more happiness, enjoy good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships with others.
I hope you enjoy the list of ABC’s of Gratitude
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