Growing Thankful Children
Everyone likes a thankful child, right? For some children, an attitude of gratitude comes naturally, but for others it must be taught and practiced.
In our classroom, we have a few parts of every day where we encourage the children to pause and be thankful. These are things that you could easily do in any home or classroom.
Towards the beginning of group circle time, we often go around and ask the children to share something that makes them happy. This is a great activity because it causes the children to pause and think about something nice in their lives. Sure, sometimes they talk about a favorite toy or something kind of superficial, but even that encourages gratitude. Often, the kids will surprise us and mention something really sweet like mom making breakfast or daddy pushing them on the swings. Either way, they have to take a few minutes and think about something good - and that makes more a grateful heart!
Every classroom or house can easily find an appropriate time to have the children pause and discuss something they are happy about. At home, right before dinner is often a wonderful time for this!
Another thing we do is Kindness Time. This is a dedicated part of our day to do an activity or read a story that emphasizes being the very best person you can be. In the beginning of the year, we often focus on sharing and taking turns by reading stories and playing little games to practice this. As the year progresses, we work more on how we can feel confident about who we are and how to spread love all around.
Great kindness activities include making cards for family and friends, acting out or practicing the skill with toys or stuffed animals, or reading a book and then discussing the lesson. These are some of our favorite kindness books:
Additionally, before eating we always have the kids wait for everyone to be seated and then we have a fun little thankful poem we say together. This teaches them to consider others and self control as they have to wait to eat.
Sprinkled throughout the year, we also create gifts for friends and family and paint many things they are thankful for. The more regularly you can get kids thinking about what they are grateful for, the more normal it becomes to think this way!
By working on this more at home and in the classroom, we can all help to make a more thankful world. xoxo
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