Sticky Notes - How To Grow Grateful Kids
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How To Grow Grateful Kids

November 24, 2021 by Emily Moore

PEAS be GRAPE-ful!

We all want our kids to remember to thank people for gifts and other kindnesses. It’s expected, polite, and respectful. But teaching kids to say “thank you” doesn’t necessarily help them to experience gratitude. To teach children to feel and express true gratitude, we need to go a little deeper.


Research shows that people who practice gratitude are more generous and compassionate with others AND feel happier and healthier themselves. Grateful kids tend to be more engaged socially and academically, more optimistic, and more satisfied with their lives.

The Making Caring Common (MCC) project at The Harvard School of Graduate Education has been exploring this very topic. The MCC project is committed to helping educators, parents, and communities raise children who are caring, responsible to their communities, and committed to justice. So, how do we teach children gratitude? Here is what MCC suggests:

  • Practice looking. Encourage kids to practice looking for one person or thing that inspires gratitude each week. 
  • Think about the “why.” Have kids write, draw, or make something that represents the person or thing they feel grateful for and encourage them to think about why they are grateful for that person or thing.
  • Talk about gratitude. At the end of the week have kids share what they are thankful for and why. For example, “I’m thankful for grandpa because he always makes me laugh even when I’m sad.”
  • Make it a habit. Talking about gratitude at least once a week for several weeks will help develop a habit, and kids will be more likely to have positive feelings about the experience of gratitude.

[Caption above: From the Making Caring Common (MCC) project at The Harvard School of Graduate Education]​​​​​​​

This Thanksgiving, try MCC’s Gratitute Conversation Cards or Gratitute Scanvenger Hunt to hone your kids’ gratitude skills. You can find more fun gratitude activities for kids and families here.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Eat, Drink, and CRANBERRY!


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