Teaching children about gratitude can sometimes be a challenging endeavor, but rewarding none the less. Little research has been done to assist in understanding how children define gratitude and at what age they truly begin to comprehend what gratitude is and how it can be shown. A study of parents of first through third grade students shared some insight into how their children define gratitude including: inspiration for the gratitude, forms of gratitude, and ways in which they could come to an understanding of gratitude (Halberstadt et al., 2016).
The parents in the study shared three main inspirations in which their children are grateful: for what they have, for what they have been given, and for what exists with or without their presence. The children showed their gratitude by recognizing that they had received something, feeling happy when receiving something, or by showing appreciation. Parents believe their children could come to an understanding of gratitude by learning from other’s perspectives, a comparison of what they have to those less fortunate.
This year has provided many challenges to each of us and our Cloverbud members have had many unexpected changes. Yet, there is still so much to be grateful for as we look around. Help your Cloverbud members understand what things they can be grateful for this year.
- In advance of your meeting, ask your members to gather 3-5 things they are grateful for so they can share with them with the group. This will help keep your members engaged virtually.
- Gather some things you are grateful for that you can share with your members as well.
- Begin your lesson asking the members what gratitude is or what it means to be grateful. Show the things you are grateful for this year.
- Remind the youth that even when times are tough, we have so much to be grateful for in our lives. Take turns having the members share the 3-5 things they gathered to share.
- Children will often times think of the material things they use daily, but remind them of other things provided for them such as food, shelter, clothing, and good health. Maybe they are grateful for the sunshine that allows them the opportunity to play outside, the rain to help our crops grow, or the hug from a loved one to make them feel special.
- Ask the members how they can should gratitude for those who have provided these things for them to appreciate. (Ex. hug, say “thank you”, a smile, etc.)
- Ask your members to pick one thing they are most thankful for and show gratitude for it. Have each member write a thank you note or draw a thank you picture and give it to the person they want to show gratitude or appreciation. Ask each member to send you a picture so they know you have completed the activity.