How to Teach Gratitude to Children

It is finally December and we are officially in the holiday season! The holidays are meant to express love, appreciation and gratitude towards our loved ones. However, teaching gratitude to our children is not the easiest parenting task. How can we teach our children to be grateful for what they have? 

According to an article via Discovery Newsgratefulness is malleable, says Jeffery Froh, a psychologist at Hofstra University. Some suggestions are to “talk frequently with kids about emotions, to de-emphasize material values, and to explain the sacrifices other people make in order to help them.

Showing gratitude it worth it! Among adults, studies have linked gratitude towards "reports of better health, higher levels of happiness, more satisfaction in their lives, better relationships and less stress”. 

A simple way to teach gratitude to your kids to to follow the "intent-cost-benefit” framework suggested by Froh. 

  1. First, recognize the intent or the decision someone made to help you. For example, your child’s best friend helped him/her with their math homework. 
  2. Second, consider what it cost that person to help. Your child’s best friend missed spending time with their grandparents to help them with their math homework. 
  3. Third, recognize how you benefited from their help. With the help and time dedicated by your child’s best friend, they completed their homework and now know how to add fractions.

Following this framework can help you structure the way you to talk to your kids about appreciating the things others do for them and learn how to express gratitude. 

Are you interested in getting to know other parents in your community and talking about gratitude or other parenting tasks? Check out our family programs and education classes here. We have everything from a new parents gathering group to developmental movement and infant massage. 

Be in community with us at The Well and let’s express gratitude together!