Teach Children Coping Skills with Acts of Gratitude

Teaching children how to be grateful is a positive way to express emotions.

Teach Children Coping Skills with Acts of Gratitude
 \  News  \  Teach Children Coping Skills with Acts of Gratitude

Teach Children Coping Skills with Acts of Gratitude

Teach Children Coping Skills with Acts of Gratitude

Why is gratitude important for children?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, especially for children. As we approach this holiday season, many children are still experiencing the uncertainty, fear, grief, and loss brought on by the spread of COVID-19. As adults, we know why it’s important to be grateful for the little things. Children, on the other hand, may need a refresher course on why gratitude is so important.

“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness,” said the President and Fellows of Harvard College in an article. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

How to teach children to be grateful?

It’s never too early to teach children to be grateful! According to experts, children recognize emotions such as gratitude gestures between one and two years old. By three years old, they can actually feel the emotions and gestures.

“By the age of 4, children tend to develop the skill to be grateful for not just materialistic things, but also for the acts of love, affection, and kindness,” said Wow Parenting.

According to the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, understanding feelings and emotions is critical to children’s overall development. Teaching children how to be grateful and show appreciation is a healthy, positive way to express emotions.

This holiday season is an excellent opportunity to show not tell children how to be thankful. Start by using real-life experiences, examples, or “teachable moments.” Also, remember to recognize and celebrate those big or small accomplishments. The theory is if we feel appreciated, we can show appreciation and be grateful for it. This process can lead to more joy.

“People who are grateful are likely to be more hopeful, energetic, empathic, and helpful to others,” said Katie Hurley, LCSW, for PBS Parents. “They are also less likely to be depressed, anxious, or envious of others. In short, practicing gratitude and holding on to positive emotion leads to greater overall happiness.”

Take some time over the holidays to encourage children to focus on the good things in life. Here are a few resources and activities to teach your children positive emotions of gratitude and appreciation.

Emotions: Coping, Gratitude and Appreciation Activities for Children

MFE Presents: The Resilience Collection!

Take a moment to review the MFE Resilience Collection, where you will find coping skill activities and other helpful resources to support positive mental health conversations. Teachers/Providers: Share with parents and families. Visit this collection often as we add new resources every month. Below are just a few examples of the resources available to download and share:

Language Preference»