How to teach gratitude to kids
Teaching the concept of gratitude and appreciation to kids can feel a little overwhelming at times. There are many approaches one could take; the practice described in this week’s blog helps to make learning gratitude FUN and turn everyday experiences into adventures.
At Christmastime, it is magic to an adult’s ear to hear a genuine “Thank Youuuuu! This is amazing!” or “WOW - I can’t wait to go play outside with this!!”.
While it’s certainly important to teach kids to express their appreciation during times of gift-giving, the game changes when your kiddos start to find gratitude and curiosity in their ‘regular life’.
I’m here to tell you that the more a child (or anyone) practices gratitude on the daily, the more one will find a true thankfulness for everyday experiences, too.
Like a muscle, the more you work at gratitude… the easier and more natural appreciation for all things will come. Your kiddos will see the goodness that’s already all around them.
- Yes, including in their homework… talking to grandparents… even washing the dishes! -
MY GRATEFUL FIVE - A GRATITUDE PRACTICE FOR KIDS (AND ADULTS, TOO)
My Grateful Five is a unique gratitude practice that trains your child’s brain to engage their senses (Smell, Sight, Hear, Touch and Taste) while blending appreciation for the activities happening around them.
Unlike other practices, My Grateful Five is designed specifically to help your kiddo find magic in the mundane. The beauty in the boring. The light during troubled times.
There is always goodness hiding nearby, and this practice will help kids learn to uncover it in a fun, creative way.
HOW TO DESCRIBE GRATITUDE TO A KID?
We like to explain feelings of gratitude as a superpower. Superpowers are unique, exciting and usually, they belong to characters on their favourite movies and TV shows! We can all relate - those superheroes do seem pretty cool!
Here’s how we describe it:
When you think of something, someone, or a time in your life and you feel warm or happy inside (like your heart is smiling) - that’s gratitude! It’s feeling thankful for all you have. And when you are able to activate those good feelings anytime you want using your 5 SENSES (Smell, Sight, Hear, Touch and Taste)…. THAT’S your special superpower!
PAIRING GRATITUDE WITH YOUR SENSES
Why is engaging your senses so important to this practice?
Because our brains REALLY like it when we use a bunch of senses all at once. Humans learn best, and will remember things for much longer, when we see, smell, hear, touch and/or taste things altogether.
Your kids will really lock in experiences that are multi-sensory (and you will, too!).
Here’s an example of how your child might turn an everyday activity into a sensory adventure:
Let’s pretend you’re on a walk to school: as you leave your house and walk outside, you might smell wet grass. The air feels cold on your cheeks but your jacket is nice and warm (your cool winter jacket is pretty awesome). You can hear geese flying, they sound kind of funny. When you look up, you see a fluffy cloud that looks like a dinosaur. You look down and - WOW - you see a 25-cent coin! When you use your senses to notice all these things, a ‘normal’ walk to school turns into more of an adventure! How fun is that!?
My Grateful Five journals are available online for $12. Each journal includes an introduction to gratitude, thorough examples of how to complete the exercise, and 31 days of templated pages ready to lead your kiddos to unlock those hidden superpowers!
This version of the My Grateful Five journal is perfect for children ages 6-12. For teens and adults, we have developed a beautiful 90-day journal and applied the exact same philosophies - but with more science and deeper exploration of how gratitude affects our wellness.
Watch out for the next blog where we will share example pages from some kids’ journals so you can learn the format, teach it to your kiddos, and see how easy it is to complete!