We’ve all heard it. An adult’s obligatory, “What should you say?” followed by a child’s less than heartfelt, “Thank you.” Genuine gratitude goes far beyond simply saying, “please” and “thank you.” It is a conscious acknowledgement—an awareness of appreciation. This attitude of gratitude needs to be modeled and taught for this very abstract skill to become a meaningful part of a child’s life.
Here are a few ways to foster an attitude of gratitude in young learners:
- Live it. Model how to show appreciation for the everyday aspects of life. Express your gratefulness when a child does something appropriate or helpful. When children clean up toys promptly, let them know that it is a great help and that you appreciate their responsible behavior.
- Talk about it. Take time to share the 3 G’s of the day. Ask your child: What went Great today? What made you Grateful today? What is your Goal for tomorrow?
- Share it. Make it a point to let people know you appreciate them and that you are grateful for the things they have done. Write a note, send a card, draw a picture, shoot a text, or call to show your appreciation to others.
- Create it. Make a creation station - Have cards, post-it notes, markers, stickers, scissors, and paper readily available. This makes it easy to create quick notes of thanks to share with others.
- Reflect on it. Talk about the things for which you are thankful and discuss why you feel that way.
- Volunteer and serve others. Set aside time to volunteer or find ways to do something for someone in need. Take cookies to a shut-in, rake leaves for an elderly neighbor, or collect and deliver items for a needy cause. Take the time to talk about why you are doing these things to help others.
- Thank those who serve. Write notes to public safety officers, take snacks to firefighters, or give flowers to the bus driver. Taking the time to let others know you appreciate them is a positive experience for the giver and the receiver.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It is the conscious act of showing appreciation for someone or something. When children are able to understand what gratitude is, they will want to share it with others. Genuine thankfulness runs deeper than simply saying, “thanks.” When children connect with their feelings of gratitude, those feelings become a catalyst for sharing the kindness that they have been shown.
At Carson Dellosa, we are grateful for you! We want to share our thanks by helping make your classroom dreams come true. We have partnered with DonorsChoose.org to support projects for teachers and students across America. Our November focus is supporting classrooms that encourage students to demonstrate kindness. Sharing an attitude of gratitude is a great place to start.
Check out our commitment to support deserving classrooms here.