When + How to Start Teaching Gratitude

Making gratitude a priority in your home will not only benefit your child but will also give adults a much needed boost in well being. Studies have found that gratitude is linked to happiness even by the age of 5. Practicing gratitude interrupts the cycle of negative thoughts and fear. This gives the stress system in our body a chance to recover. 

Gratitude is a positive emotion and it can be felt for many things: a sunny day, good food, friends, nature, music, and so much more. Children under the age of 7 may not grasp the concept quiet yet but it is important to note that it is not what they are thankful for but that they are learning to express gratitude that is important. By the age of 2 your child can start to articulate things they are thankful for like: mom, dad, toys, rain, pets etc. 

Benefits of Gratitude:

  • Improved resilience
  • Higher levels of optimism
  • Improved sleep
  • Less stress
  • Improves ability to cope with stress
  • Reduced depression
  • decreases aggression
  • Increased self esteem

Being thankful is NOT a natural instinct and therefore needs to be taught. There are many ways to practice gratitude and make it part of your day. This Gratitude Game (free printable) is only one way to help your children build the skills of gratitude. It is easy to fit into your day as part of your morning routine, a conversation starter at dinner, before bed, etc.

All you need is to print the game and have a dice. Each person can roll the dice and then match the number. This will prompt you or your child to show gratitude for a person, place, thing, skill, etc. Each person can share gratitude with the family before moving on to the next person. 

 Nguyen SP, Gordon CL. The Relationship Between Gratitude and Happiness in Young Children. Journal of Happiness Studies. November 2019. doi:10.1007/s10902-019-00188-6

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Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

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