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