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Tips to Inculcate the Attitude of Gratitude to Kids - a blog post by Mommyshravmusings

5 Tips to build the Attitude of Gratitude in Kids on this Thanks Giving Day!!

It’s that time of the year when kindness and gratitude come to the forefront, and most parents wonder how to explain gratitude to their younger ones. The internet would be flooded with worksheets, games, and activities that parents can use to teach gratitude even to their kindergarten-aged kids. If you are thinking like me, you would agree that Gratitude wouldn’t get inculcated in the kids by playing a few games or practicing it by saying “Thank you and Please, Sorry” during Thanksgiving or other related festivals worldwide.

The “Attitude of Gratitude” was inculcated in me by my elders, and while they were practicing it diligently, I decided to do the same with my child. Having the gratitude trait in my attitude, I had become more optimistic, happy, joyful, and mindful about myself and my surroundings.

What is Attitude of Gratitude?

The attitude of gratitude means having a mindset of being thankful and appreciating the opportunities and curveballs thrown by the cosmos at us. It makes us operate from the abundance mindset instead of being pulled down by various anxieties and fears.

Quote in the post about Inculcating the Attitude of Gratitude in Kids by mommyshravmusings

It means we have become habitual in expressing our heartfelt appreciation for every aspect of life – big and small, good and bad. It doesn’t mean we have to force our smiles or express our gratitude when we face issues. It means that we acknowledge the negative feelings and factors that are pulling us down, and we try to come out of them. How we emerge from them depends on how we look at that situation. It basically means inculcating the gratitude mindset within ourselves.

In simpler words, we include gratitude in our personality, which has become next to our skin. We wear the cloak of gratitude all the time. Every person’s attitude towards life is different. But if we can add the spice of gratitude into that attitude, then life will become more beautiful and meaningful. Here is a quick list of benefits one can achieve by having an attitude of gratitude in life.

  • It makes you an eternal optimistic
  • It provides the happiness that lasts.
  • Improves Emotional, Mental, and Physical Health
  • It helps in building meaningful relationships.
  • Helps in achieving professional and personal goals with relatively less stress and anxiety

How to teach Attitude of Gratitude in Kids?

Now, as parents, we all want our kids to have this excellent mindset of having an attitude of gratitude. So here are a few tips specifically tailored to kids.

Start each day with an attitude of gratitude

Source Unknown from Quotes Master

1. Express Gratitude daily: Kids are good observers who learn by observing. So when they observe you talking about how thankful you are for that day or a particular thing regularly, they would also start behaving similarly. And it need not be done at a fixed time or place. You can express your gratitude whenever you are enjoying something.

Ex: You can say, “Look at the warm sunlight coming through the windows; thank god, the sun is out already and bright today.” Or, for a rainy day or snowy day – you can choose the words appropriately and express your thanks to god.

2. Appreciate Others and Self, too: Always take time to appreciate others or even yourself for the things well done. You have to look for opportunities to appreciate people rather than waiting for something particular to get done. Active appreciation helps people to complete their tasks in the best possible way. The caution here we need to take is not to provide an empty appreciation for the sake of appreciation. People can see through the empty appreciation.

Ex: At the dinner table, you can thank your partner or yourself for preparing a warm, wonderful meal for the family. You can also appreciate different characteristics in the person, which makes them unique and interesting.

Appreciating the efforts of another person or complimenting yourself for a task well completed will help the kids identify the efforts of another person. Then they start appreciating the other people in their lives too. Slowly, the kids start appreciating their own inner strengths and characteristics.

3. Practice Mindfulness: Being mindful about the situations, surroundings, and people around you helps appreciate them better. You would start enjoying being in the moment and appreciating those opportunities. Being mindful not only helps you appreciate the present but also helps you get rid of negative feelings and emotions. When you start appreciating the present moment, you begin developing positive thinking so that you won’t dwell on negative situations or feelings.

Kids, by nature, are mindful and live in the moment. But we changed it all. So now, we need to teach them to stop and smell the roses once again without hurrying all the time.

Tips to Inculcate the Attitude of Gratitude in Kids by mommyshravmusings

Ex: Spend more time in nature and start appreciating the beautiful sunsets and sunrises along with the kids. Teach them meditation techniques. We can ask them to dwell on the things people that they are grateful for during those brief meditating moments. You can go for gratitude walks (each person names a thing, person, or experience they are thankful for before taking the next step in the walk)

4. Gratitude Journals or Jars: Having a gratitude journal or jar for every family member would teach the practice of expressing gratitude regularly, and that’s the first step in teaching the attitude of gratitude in kids. Practicing daily gratitude affirmations also would do the trick.

Depending on the child’s age, we can either have prompt-based gratitude journals or plain ones. A gratitude jar is for the younger ones to show how happy and grateful they should be in life, as each item, person, or situation would be written on a chit and placed in the jar.

5. Practice turning complaints and envy into compliments: Every child would have one or another complaint at one point or another about their friends and peers. Instead of listening to those complaints, if we can direct the kids to turn them into praises, they would learn to start looking for positive traits in everyone. The same is the case with envy and jealousy, too,

Ex: My kid first experienced this feeling of jealousy when the other boy on his team scored better runs when compared to him. He came home saying he would take revenge on him. Instead of fueling his jealousy, we showed how vigilant that other boy was when compared to him. That’s the reason for him to score more runs. We not only showed him the area to improve but also showed the reason why he needs to appreciate the other boy.

Though these tips might look simple to read, it takes time and patience from the parent’s end to inculcate the attitude of gratitude in kids. And for the parents starting on the path of teaching gratitude in kids, the above steps would look daunting in the beginning. We need to start taking baby steps before proceeding on the way of having gratitude as our attitude. Apart from being a good role model in the department of gratitude to your kids, the following are the few baby steps that, as a parent, we can start implementing to teach the attitude of gratitude in kids.

  • Nudging the child to say “Thank you or Please”
  • Ask open-ended questions that make the child wonder why they are thanking the other person.
  • Make the child understand his emotions and feelings so he can navigate them with your support.
  • Showing the opportunities to volunteer and help the underprivileged kids or serve the community as a whole
  • Reading them the stories of kindness and gratitude on a regular basis
  • Create opportunities to send thank you cards or festival greetings to neighbors and extended family members to see the smiles on their faces.

Are there any downsides to this attitude?

Some people might wonder whether there are any adverse side effects of adding gratitude to our attitude. Let me tell you, apart from getting the nickname that they are a people pleaser and always wants to thank everyone, there is no other particular harm that research has predicted. The only side effect I got to know is to get the grumpy people to smile a little or spread cheer and happiness on the unfortunate people’s faces. I don’t think that would hurt anyone in the long run.

Final Thoughts:

So, having the attitude of gratitude is very simple actually: expressing your heartfelt thanks for everything in life and appreciating every moment of life. You can instill this in kids with relative ease if you can role-model it to begin with. Always remember that the kids can have more balanced emotional and mental health with gratitude. They will become more well-balanced individuals if we practice gratitude year long, without limiting it to Thanksgiving or other festival times. Lastly, I want to share my mom’s saying, which I always believe:

Gratitude is the spice, which can be added to every meal you have in a day

Suhasini, IP, is the Author of the book “Practical Tips for Kids Mental Health.” As a certified kids and parents life coach, she helps/guides you toward a happy family life for your kids. She firmly believes that “Emotionally Happy Kids of today are the Mentally Strong and Happy Citizens of tomorrow.” Let’s make the world a happy and beautiful place for our kids to thrive.


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