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Gratefuls and Grumbles: Helping kids develop an attitude of gratitude

Research shows that young people who approach life with an attitude of gratitude experience many benefits. The benefits of being grateful include mental wellness, school success, generosity, and even physical health. 

While approaching life with an attitude of gratitude isn't something we are born with, it can be a simple practice to incorporate into daily life. Even very young children can begin to learn skills and practices that will help them move through life with an appreciative mindset.

One way to help teach the concept of gratitude, and ways to incorporate it into everyday life, is through an activity called GRATEFULS and GRUMBLES. Here's how it works in three simple steps:

  1. Ask your child to share something for which he or she is thankful—a GRATEFUL.
  2. Ask them to share something that's difficult or frustrating—a GRUMBLE.
  3. Talk about both the gratefuls and the grumbles.

Let your child know that somedays it will be hard to think of a grateful and other days it will be hard to come up with a grumble—and that's okay. It's good to talk about each and the good news is we get to start each day fresh.

Also consider making a Gratitude Jar to get kids in the gratitude spirit. This is a fun, creative family project. Just follow these steps: 

  • Clean out a glass jar with a lid.
  • Decorate it in any way you like.
  • Every day or whenever you feel inspired, invite each family member to say aloud something they are grateful for and put a coin (penny, nickel, quarter) in the jar.
  • When the jar is full, take out the money and donate it to a cause or organization you want to support.

This activity not only reminds young people of the things they are grateful for, it teaches them the practice of sharing their good fortune with others. Alternatively, instead of putting money in the jar, family members can write their gratefuls on slips of paper that can be pulled out and read whenever a reminder is needed!


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