How do you raise a grateful child? Read on for some tips sharing how to teach thankfulness to preschoolers through these gratitude activities.
You know the practice of gratitude and mindfulness are important to me as a mother, and I have even run weekly gratitude and goals link-ups in the past. I love when planners have a section for your daily gratitude review. I’m working on how to start teaching mindfulness to kids as well as how to teach gratitude and thankfulness to kids.
How do you raise a grateful child?
One way to introduce gratitude is a gratitude journal for kids (older kids can write in their own but even preschoolers can tell you what they are thankful for and let you write it in their journal). This allows the practice to follow the child as he or she grows up, and is a great answer to how to teach gratitude to a teenager.
Another fabulous way to teach gratitude and kindness to kids is through reading books. Here’s a lovely book showing how a character learns to be thankful for non-material things.
Thankful Frankie teaches kids to be thankful for the amazing and non-materialistic things we all have. Instilling gratitude at a young age has many benefits that can positively affect our everyday lives, and helps kids express a positive outlook to help others around them. Each book includes discussion prompts at the end, creating space for children to write, draw, or dictate what it is they are thankful for.
I’m so excited to share this wonderful interview with the author of Thankful Frankie, Kathleen Cruger.
What inspired you to publish Thankful Frankie?
Cultivating gratitude has been a tremendously powerful tool for me. A few years ago, I took a leap of faith and left my career and hometown in search of a more fulfilling life. As exciting as this was, it brought with it a lot of uncertainty. To combat any anxiety that would bubble to the surface, I started listing things I was thankful for. Sometimes I would get very specific and think of a friend or loved one that I was grateful to have in my life. Other times it would be much more simple and broad like the warmth of the sun or some pretty flowers I saw on my morning walk. Regularly listing things I was thankful for put me at ease and instantly improved my mood which is when I noticed how impactful the practice of gratitude really is. I thought, “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone did this?”, and so the idea of Thankful Frankie was born.
Why do you think the practice of gratitude is important for kids?
A regular gratitude practice can help kids feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. They are less likely to compare themselves to others and more likely to see a situation or experience from someone else’s perspective. More now than ever kids are suffering from anxiety, and taking a minute or two to practice mindful gratitude can help reduce stress. Perhaps most importantly, our society is so heavily based in consumerism and we are left with wanting more, thinking we need more to be happy. Finding gratitude at a young age can allow children to create a life they love, rather than focusing so heavily on money and material things.
Besides reading this book with our children, can you suggest activities to help children learn about the practice of gratitude?
Gratitude is a challenging concept to teach children because they are so focused on themselves, figuring out who they are, and how they function in this world. I find the easiest way to teach children about gratitude is to model the behavior. Say “thank you”, write random gratitude notes to people you love, tell children about a specific person or experience you are thankful for.
To involve children in the practice, make a list of questions (or use my free downloadable resource) that encourage gratitude reflection. For example, “What is something that makes you happy?” or “Who helped you today? How were they helpful?”. Put the questions in a jar or box and take one out each day or evening to answer together. I also love using a whiteboard or chalkboard where kids (and the whole family or class) can write what they are thankful for each day.
How can parents encourage children to remember to be thankful?
Make it a habit! Take turns listing things you are thankful for during mealtime or just before going to bed. Not only does this encourage a regular gratitude practice, but it brings families together and leads to meaningful connection and conversation.
What is the “Thankful Frankie Gratitude Challenge”?
The gratitude challenge mixes random acts of kindness with gratitude. Each book comes with a notecard which can be used to write a short letter letting someone know you are thankful for them. It encourages readers to do something thoughtful – paint a picture, bake a treat, or make a little gift as a way to say thanks and spread gratitude and kindness.
The lovely author, Kathleen Cruger, is sharing these fun activities you can do with kids to practice gratitude! Grab them below! The Thankful Frankie gratitude activities include:
- Things that make me happy
- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
- Gratitude in a Jar activity
- Write a thank you note
Grab your Gratitude Activities now!
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