Understanding Gratitude: How Teaching Your Child to be Grateful Can Improve Their Life

Understanding gratitude is powerful. It is an emotion that can bring positivity, happiness, and joy into our lives. As parents, we want our children to be happy and successful in all aspects of life. One of the best ways to do this is by teaching them to be grateful.

The Importance of Understanding Gratitude

  • Developing Positive Attitudes

By focusing on the good things in life, your child can learn to appreciate what they have rather than always wanting more. This can help them to develop a positive attitude towards life, which is essential for success in all areas.

  • Boosting Mental Health

When we focus on the good things in our lives, we feel happier, more content, and less stressed. By teaching your child to be grateful, you are helping them to develop a positive mindset that can lead to improved mental health.

  • Improving Relationships

When we express gratitude towards others, it can strengthen our relationships and create deeper connections. By teaching your child to be grateful, you are helping them to develop strong relationships with the people around them.

Tips for Teaching Gratitude

  • Lead by Example

When your child sees you expressing gratitude, they are more likely to adopt the same behavior. This can be as simple as saying “thank you” when someone does something kind for you or taking time to appreciate the beauty around you.

  • Encourage Gratitude Practices

This can include keeping a gratitude journal or taking time each day to reflect on the things they are grateful for. By encouraging these practices, you are helping your child to develop a habit of gratitude that can have a positive impact on their life.

  • Teach Empathy

When your child learns to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, they can better appreciate the things they have. By helping your child understand the struggles that others may face, you are helping them to develop empathy and gratitude.

Gratitude Activities for Kids

  • Create a Gratitude Jar

This fun activity that can help your child develop gratitude. Encourage your child to write down things they are grateful for on a slip of paper and place it in the jar. At the end of the week, take time to read the slips of paper and reflect on the good things in life.

  • Volunteer as a Family

When your child sees the struggles that others may face, they can better appreciate the things they have. This can also help to strengthen your family’s relationships and create a sense of community.

  • Say “Thank You” Often

Encouraging your child to say “thank you” often is a simple but effective way to teach gratitude. When your child expresses gratitude towards others, it can strengthen their relationships and create a positive attitude towards life.

Teaching your child to be grateful is an essential part of their development. By developing positive attitudes, boosting mental health, and improving relationships, gratitude can have a positive impact on your child’s life. Remember to lead by example, encourage gratitude practices, teach empathy, and try fun gratitude activities with your child. By doing so, you are setting your child up for a life of positivity, happiness, and success. Understanding gratitude is not only beneficial for your child’s development, but it’s also a way to create a more grateful and compassionate world.


  1. Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 46(2), 213-233.
  2. Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., & Maltby, J. (2008). Gratitude uniquely predicts satisfaction with life: Incremental validity above the domains and facets of the five factor model. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(1), 49-54.
  3. Algoe, S. B., Gable, S. L., & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It’s the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(2), 217-233.
  4. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. (2021). Gratitude. Retrieved from https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/what_we_do/our_key_initiatives/gratitude_project.
  5. Kaczmarek, L. D., Kashdan, T. B., Drążkowski, D., Enko, J., Kosakowski, M., & Szäefer, A. (2017). The influence of gratitude on rumination and depressive symptoms in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Research, 258, 440-446.

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