This video lesson is designed for parents to guide them about gratitude, its importance, and how to introduce it to their children.
What does Gratitude Mean?
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation of what a child receives. It’s more than just saying thank you. With it, children acknowledge the goodness in their lives. It helps a child feel more positive emotions, relish pleasant experiences and build strong relationships. It involves sympathy, empathy, sensitivity, understanding values, and respect.
A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies states that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by age 5. Children who are taught gratitude at a young age are likely to grow up to be happier adults.
According to the experts in Montessori education, “Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy”. It is a feeling that an individual inculcates in their daily life. It is the pinnacle of human behavior to be grateful for people, nature, and God.
Showing gratitude can sometimes be tricky for children as they are self-focused in their early ages and stages of development. As children grow in gratitude, they become more sensitive to others’ needs and feelings.
Why is Practicing Gratitude Important?
Children aged 6-12 years develop gratitude with the learning of morality and fairness. They seek what is right and wrong in everything. At this age, the child tends to develop intellectual or internal order, which helps them seek justice. Therefore, parents and facilitators need to teach gratitude to the children.
Benefits of Teaching Gratitude
Being grateful and teaching gratitude are integral parts of the Montessori philosophy of living a natural, harmonious life. It has many benefits:
- It creates feelings of love, compassion, joy, and hope
- It helps the child to be thankful for nature and the people around them.
- It strengthens social ties, self-esteem, and resilience to stress.
- It is the foundation of emotional, social, and practical life skills in Montessori education.
Process of Teaching Children about Gratitude
The concept of gratitude refers both to how we receive things in the world and how we give them away. It is something that cannot be forced on a child but is learned as they grow. The following steps will help them learn and experience it:
- Notice: What are the things we can be grateful for in our lives that we notice? Start by noticing the person, place, or thing that you are grateful for.
- Think: The way we think about why we are given what we have. Start by thinking about the reasons why you are thankful for this person or thing.
- Feel: Express your feelings about the things you have been given. Are you happy, silly, excited, calm, peaceful, or proud?
- Do: Our actions in return for appreciation. Start by showing gratitude for a person, place, or thing.
These experiences will help the child develop appreciative behavior.
Activities for Teaching Gratitude to the Children
Here are some tips that are helpful to teach gratitude to the child aged 6-12 years:
- Thank people: Teach them to say thank you to the people who do things for them. Have a talk with your child about where the food comes from. Work backward to the delivery man, shopkeeper, baker, miller, farmer, etc. Explain how these people work hard to bring the bread for you. End with a gentle thank you to all of them. Nothing more or less.
- Hands: Let your child place their hands on the paper and trace around it with a pencil. Talk about what hands help us do. Ask the child to write them down inside the hands drawn. Decorate with colors and sit back and hear the child’s thoughts. Talk gently about things they feel good about and do not feel good about.
- Good things: Talk about one good thing you did today. This can be a beautiful family exercise where everyone shares an act they did that made themselves and someone else happy and grateful. Children thrive when their acts of kindness are acknowledged, encouraged, and talked about. There is no reward or judgment. Only appreciation of the work involved.
- Writing or thank you card/ note: Ask the child to write or draw a thank you note to people they cared about. Their letters are sure to melt the hearts of people they cared about.
- Research: Ask your child to choose an object that helps them every day like a toothbrush, light, comb, etc. Together, research the object and how it has changed over time. Teach how the object has made our lives easy.
Watch the video and understand teaching gratitude is important. Let them appreciate themselves and those around them with the help of activities.
Help the child to understand what gratitude is. Let them appreciate themselves and those around them. Watch the video for the activities to develop gratitude.
Related Video Resources
- Importance of research for the child
- Developing a sense of order in children
- Importance of grading for children
For more practical life lessons, click here.
Video created by Aishwarya | I teach I learn
Elementary | Practical Life | Gratitude (English)
This video has been added and used with the author’s permission. It is also available on the author’s YouTube, here.
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