5 Ways to Encourage an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Child


With the holiday season upon us, it is so important to slow down and take time to remember all that we are thankful for in our lives. As essential as it is for adults to practice gratitude, it is equally important for children.  As we approach the hustle and bustle of the holidays, here are a few simple ideas to help your child learn and practice gratitude:

  1. Top 3 – Create a bedtime ritual by having your child share their “top 3” moments of the day each night before they go to bed. You can take turns sharing your best moments of the day so everyone will fall asleep reminded of all the good that has occurred in the day.
  2. Gratitude Jar – Place a jar in a common space and have your child write down or draw pictures of things they are grateful for. At the end of each week or month, you can read through the jar with your child. Be creative with this and decorate the jar, use popsicle sticks, etc. to make it fun!
  3. Holiday Gift Giving List – This time of year many children spend time writing gift lists of things they want for the holiday season. Take this opportunity to remind your child this also a season of giving by having them write an extra gift list-this time a list of gifts they would like to give to someone! They could write the list keeping in mind a friend, family member, or neighbor.
  4. Role Play – For younger kids and children with language delays, gratitude may be a difficult concept to grasp since it is an abstract feeling. Try to make it concrete by role-playing how you can show thankfulness using a teddy bear or action figures. Model a variety of situations and use the toy/figure to demonstrate how to appropriately express your thankfulness. Be creative with your scenarios!
  5. Special Delivery– Have your child show appreciation for members of the community by making cookies or decorating letters. They can deliver these tokens of appreciation to police/fireman, mail carriers, garbage collectors, friendly neighbors or anyone that could use some extra appreciation. Discuss with your child why these people are so important. Encourage creativity and make the event fun for your child!

Even if you incorporate just 1 or 2 of these suggestions throughout your holiday season, your child will benefit from taking the time to practice gratitude. Gratitude can help your child develop empathy, kindness, and can even encourage language expression and abstract thinking. A grateful child is a happy child!


By Melanie Krupowicz, M.S., CCC-SLP

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