For the past two weeks, I’ve been talking about gratitude. First, I went over some of the benefits of gratitude. Then I shared a list of 50 journal prompts to help you jump start your gratitude practice. This week, I’ll show you some different exercises that will help you teach your kids about gratitude.
This adds onto last week’s post filled with gratitude journal prompts, some of which you can use with your kids. These may be fun to explore with school age children. Here are some additional prompt ideas.
- What are you grateful for about your family?
- Who are your friends and what do you like about them?
- What makes you happy?
- What do you have that other kids might not have?
- Where are your favorite places to go and why?
- What do you like about yourself?
- What do you like about school?
Make lists of any of these.
- People you love,
- Movies and or tv shows,
- Things about nature,
The Five Senses
Make a list of the things that you can see, hear, smell, touch and taste that you are grateful for.
If you can’t taste anything in that moment, make a list of favorite foods, snacks, candy etc.
Same goes for smell. What smells do you love?
If your kids aren’t writers, do this exercise on a long drive. What do you see out your window that you are grateful for?
To expand on the journaling idea and to make it more creative, have your kids take photos of the things they are grateful for or draw them.
To add another educational twist, find things from A to Z and make a gratitude alphabet book.
Gratitude Collage or Vision Board
Have your children cut out pictures from magazines of the things they are grateful for. You could also have them take photos, draw pictures or print off pictures from the internet. The options are endless. You can also include quotes if they resonate. Younger children could simply make a collage of things they love where older children could make a full vision board filled with pictures, quotes and their goals and dreams for the future. Let them be creative and run wild with this.
Here’s another great craft to do around Thanksgiving or any time. Cut out or draw a blank tree and some paper leaves. Each day, write something you are grateful for on a leaf and add it to the tree.
Gratitude scavenger hunt
Decide on some objects or things in the environment that you are grateful for and either make a list or find a scavenger hunt printable. Have your kids find the objects and check them off the list.
You can use any glass or plastic jar for this. Take3 several strips of paper and each day, have your child write something they are grateful for and put it in the jar.
Random Acts of Kindness
Kindness goes well with gratitude and this activity is similar to the gratitude jar. Make it a kindness jar instead. Take strips of paper and write random acts of kindness on each. Then every day, pick a piece of paper and complete the act of kindness for that day. Some acts of kindness include:
- Give a family member a hug,
- Do a chore without being asked,
- Write a thank you note,
- Give a gift,
- Give someone a compliment,
- Share something with a friend or family member,
- Help someone who needs it
Find a favorite charity and either donate money, time or items. If your favorite family charity is an animal shelter, volunteer to walk dogs or spend time with the cats. If you are donating to a food pantry, have your kids help gather food items. One great way to get your kids involved is to have them donate some of their old toys before they get new ones. It helps them to understand that some kids have less and that it’s wonderful to share with others. Plus it helps the environment because there are less toys simply being thrown away.
Gratitude Before Bedtime
Why not end the day by talking about the things that you are grateful for? It’s a nice way to wind down and relax. You could make it a ritual and talk about what happened that day to be grateful for as apart of the bedtime routine. If your night time routine is too full, it is also a nice way to wake up in the morning. It could be a relaxing and mood boosting way to start the day.
Speaking of bedtime, there are lots of great meditations for kids that are all about gratitude and kindness. If you practice meditation, you may want to get your children involved as well. This is another relaxing bed time ritual or a way to help your kids wake up in the morning.
We’ve reached the last item on my list. Books are a great way to start teaching your kids about anything and gratitude is no exception. There are tons of books that can help you introduce children to gratitude. I’ll list some of them here.
Check out this post for more gratitude activities for kids.
Do you have a gratitude practice? How do you get your children involved? Tell me in the comments.