“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark
Many school-aged kids are still on holidays and have undoubtedly been spoiled with family adventures, easter eggs, yummy food and play dates with their friends. As an adult we know that there is a certain privilege that comes with these fun activities and are grateful for the opportunity to experience them.
It’s important we teach our children to look at situations from a perspective of appreciation.
Take some time during these school holidays, or any time you feel appropriate, and try implementing some of these activities with your children to introduce and openly discuss the emotion of gratitude.
Sit down with your children and, using a notebook and pen, write these sentence introductions on each page of the notebook
• Today / This week I am thankful for…
• The best part of my day / week was…
• I felt joy recently when…
Explain what they mean to the younger kids and write down their answers on the page. This is also a fun exercise to do monthly, keeping a record of the date on each answer so you are able to go back and reflect overtime what they felt grateful for with them.
- List their favourite things
Similar to the previous activity, write the heading ‘I am grateful for’ on the top of a fresh page. On the left-hand side write down a bunch of miscellaneous categories such as the examples listed below and ask the children to write their favourite for each. This allows an opportunity to show appreciation for their favourite things in life:
- Write a thankyou letter
Sit down with your kids and help them write a thankyou letter to someone they feel thankful for. It could be for a parent, sibling, teacher, neighbour, sports coach, or anyone else they think of. The point is to get them to sit down and write a few sentences to the person explaining why they are thankful for them and what they do for them. Helping the children hand deliver these thankyou notes will also make the other person feel appreciated.
One way to help your children feel appreciative for the things they have is by volunteering for a less-fortunate group. This is a great activity as it not only provides a helping hand to those that need it, such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens or other non-profits, but it will have a positive impact on the children’s sense of gratitude. You can find volunteer work simply by googling “volunteer work near me”.
- Nightly gratitude
After implementing all the previous activities, don’t allow the children to easily forget the emotion of gratitude. Take two minutes each night, maybe at the dinner table or before they go to bed, and ask your children what they feel grateful for today. This will allow for consistency and positively influence the children’s perspective on life.