It is easy to fall into the error that teaching children to be polite and to have gratitude consists in teaching them to speak with respect and say please and thank you, however, and although they are certainly valuable things, the truth is that instilling the concept of gratitude in children is something that, well done, generates much more profound and lasting results.

It’s true that helping children understand the notion of gratitude can be difficult, especially when they are young and struggling to understand abstract ideas, but the results are well worth it. Learning gratitude will help children to be more sensitive to the feelings of others, develop empathy, gain perspective, and cultivate other life skills that will benefit them and others in the future.


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Dates such as Christmas are ideal to encourage conversation with the little ones about this topic, and to discuss aspects such as gratitude or appreciation. But if you consider guiding children, whether they are your children or your students, in the understanding and practice of gratitude and you do not want to wait so long, here are some of the key ways you will have to achieve it and to influence in a way very positive in the next generations.




6 tips and activities to teach gratitude to children

Here are some helpful resources used by educators and professionals to collect great activities to do and also tips for teaching gratitude to kids.


  • Write thank you letters

If you are a teacher, do not hesitate to practice one day in the classroom how to write thank you letters: for mom, for dad, for grandparents, for Santa Claus … In this same sense, it is also advisable to encourage children to express their gratitude when they serve them at a table, put them an ice cream, tell them interesting things on an excursion, their grandparents give them a gift …

These kinds of actions will not only inspire gratitude in children, but will also give them great lifelong skills that will serve them for years and years in their own experiences. These types of actions reinforce the practice and help express gratitude as second nature.


  • Meeting of nice and positive things

This extremely simple practice is a great way to get children into the habit of reflecting on the positive things in their lives. At dinner time or before going to bed, each member of the family should take a turn and list the three things that happened that day that marked them the most. This can be activities that have been carried out or situations that have brought out the feeling of gratitude. Naming the positive things that happen to you will surely help children acquire a sense of gratitude ingrained forever.

Gratitude also helps ease anxiety, so learning to focus on the things that one is grateful for, rather than focusing on anxious and negative thoughts, is actually a very useful skill for a happy and healthy life.


  • Words of love and gratitude

This little activity is very practical and fun and is also based on the importance of gratitude. Ask the children to choose a person with whom they are grateful (a friend, an uncle or an aunt…) and then have them write five descriptive words about why they are so grateful to that person. Then let the children trace their hands on a sheet of paper and cut it out. The five previous words must also be written on each finger of the drawn hand, and then they can join all of them to decorate our house or our class and fill the spaces with beautiful and happy words.






  • Encourage children to act when they want something

A great way to teach gratitude is to engage children when they want to buy something or receive a certain type of privilege. Not only will they feel more autonomy and responsibility in what they are buying or earning, but they will also learn to appreciate the things they already have at the same time.

Instead of “drowning” children in a sea of things, teach them the valuable lesson of earning them with effort and moderation and valuing with courage the true treasures of life, such as friendship or spending time with our own.


  • Create a tree of a thousand colors

Using brown construction paper, cut out and form a trunk with branches. Then cut out sheets of colored paper as well, and let the children write what they want to thank on each sheet. Then create a flowery and colorful tree and put it in a prominent place in your classroom, or in your own home if you have the opportunity, as a reminder of all the good things that your family or your students have and know how to be grateful for.


  • Get involved with the community

Whether it’s volunteering at a food shelter, nursing home, or helping clean up parks or beaches, involving children in the community they live in can teach valuable lessons about gratitude . And it is that in this way they will not only connect with those with whom they live, but will also be able to see the direct impact and gratitude that our effort can make others grow.



And you, how do you teach gratitude?

Gratitude is a skill that helps both adults and children to learn to do better and to live in greater harmony with those around us. Acting as a role model and showing your appreciation is one of the most useful things you can do (whether you are a parent, teacher, brother, friend…) to teach children the importance of gratitude .

The stage of early childhood is the most important to achieve this and to instill those essential traits and those basic habits and practices that ensure that we can express ourselves with gratitude. Habits and practices that should be part of early childhood education so that it can continue to shape the rest of our lives.



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