Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can have a positive impact on our lives. It is the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for what we have. When we practice gratitude, we focus on the good things in our lives, rather than the negative. This can be beneficial for our mental and emotional health. Unfortunately, gratitude doesn’t always come naturally for most people, including our kids. Because kids learn best from us, if we want to teach them about gratitude, it’s best to be intentional about it, and practice gratitude ourselves! Let’s discuss what gratitude is, the benefits of practicing gratitude, and how to create your own a to z gratitude list. As well as gratitude ideas for each letter!
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for what we have in our lives. It can be expressed through words or actions, such as saying “thank you” or showing kindness to others. You can feel grateful for things as simple as a good meal, to large things like a good job or loving friends.
Why practice gratitude?
There are many benefits to practicing gratitude, including increased happiness and improved relationships. It can also help us focus on the positive aspects of our lives, rather than getting caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. For kids, practicing gratitude can help them see the good things in their lives. It can also ground them in the real and positive things they see.
Benefits of practicing gratitude
There are many benefits to creating a regular practice of gratitude in your life. These include:
- Improved sleep— Expressing gratitude before bed can help clear your mind and improve the quality of sleep.
- Strengthened relationships— Expressing gratitude towards others can strengthen our relationships and improve communication. It also helps us see how others are impacting our lives.
- Increased happiness— Expressing gratitude helps us focus on the positive aspects of our lives and can lead to increased overall happiness. It’s so much easier to be happy when you can see all the good in your life vs. pining over what you don’t have.
- Better physical health— Practicing gratitude can improve physical health, including a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure.
- Calm/relaxation— Taking time to focus on what we are grateful for can help bring a sense of calm and relaxation to our lives.
It’s easy to see that gratitude can be powerful for both children and adults.
Getting kids to be grateful
Most of us, including our kids, don’t practice gratitude without a little prompting. Here are some ways to get your kids started on their a to z gratitude list:
1. Start each day or meal by talking about what you are grateful for. Each day, choose a letter and brainstorm 3-5 things you are grateful for that begin with that letter.
2. Encourage your kids to write thank you notes or express gratitude towards others in their daily interactions. Keep this interesting by encouraging them to write a thank you note to a person whose name starts with that letter. For example, G for grandma. On the G day, write grandma a thank you note or send a text to tell her how your family is grateful for all she does.
3. As a family, brainstorm things that everyone is grateful for and add them to the list.
4. Take time each day or week to discuss the items on your gratitude list and why you are grateful for them.
Kids Gratitude List A-Z
Use the examples below, and add to your own A to Z Gratitude List:
A—Alone time, adventures, aunts, air, art, animals, apologies, apps, air conditioning, achievements
B—Baking, best friends, bathrooms, bathing, books, babies, baseball, basketball, brothers, BBQ, birthdays, breakfast, bed, beach, blanket
C—Cooking, compliments, camera, car, children, comedy, church, conversations, clothes, chocolate, couch, Christmas, candy, cake, cats, camping, cats,
D—Dinner with family, dog, dreams, date nights, dentist, doctor, drinks, dancing, donuts, dads, drive-in movie, discounts, drawing
E—Education, exercise, email, electricity, exploring, ears, eyes, elephants, emergency workers
F—Family, friends, flowers, French fries, frozen yogurt, food, football, faith, farmers, festivals, Facebook, fireworks, fresh air
G—Garden, games, gifts, God, grandparents, graduation, growth, GPS, groceries, gratitude, garbage trucks, gas
H—Helping others, happy birthdays, home, health, happiness, heart, Halloween, hugs, hands, hearing, hair, heat, honesty, herbal tea, hobbies
I—Internet, Instagram, ice cream, inventors, instruments, ice
J—Jokes, journals, jam, joy, job, juice
K—Kindness, kisses, kittens, kids, knowledge, kites
L—Lists, learning, legs, love, life, laptop, library, light, lilies, laughter
M—Money, music, morning, memories, mom, mental health professionals, marriage, meditation, medicine, movies
N—Nature, notes, naps, Netflix, neighbors
O—Ocean, outdoors, opportunities, officers, online shopping, optimism
P—Prayer, plants, picnics, photos, phone, pets, park, painting, parties, pancakes, pizza, payday, planners, podcasts, partner, parents, popcorn, positivity
Q—Questions, quiet, quality products, quality time, quilts, quotes, quizzes
R—Rainbows, recipes, restaurants, routines, rain, radio, rest, reading, running, relationships, roadtrips, retail therapy
S—Smiles, songs, spring, sisters, sports, sunrise, sunset, smell, surprises, sleeping in, sleep, seasons, social media, siblings, sight, shopping, school, snow, support, self-care, siblings, Saturdays, Sundays, showers, soap, stretching, sweatshirt, socks, safety, singing, spa
T—TV, travelling, tea, technology, taste, theater, treats, takeout, tacos, texting, therapists, talking, t-shirts, teachers, time, tears, truck drivers
U—Umbrellas, USA, uncles, university, universe, unity, understanding
V—Vacations, venting, voice, veterans, veterinarians, virtual work, victories, vacation, volunteering, volunteers
W—Writing, wishes, work, weekends, weddings, water, workouts, WiFi, walks, work-from-home, Wednesdays, windows
Y—Yoga, YouTube, yellow, youth, yellow, you
Z—Zoo, zippers, Ziploc, zest, zzz’s (Hello sleep!)
Gratitude Journaling Tips
- Set aside a specific time each day to practice gratitude journaling, whether it be first thing in the morning or before bed at night. You are more likely to stick with your gratitude journaling practice if you do it at the same time each day.
- Challenge yourself to come up with new things that you are grateful for each day, rather than repeating the same things over and over again.
- Keep your journal with you throughout the day and jot down moments or things that you are grateful for as they come to mind.
- Write about the reasons why you are grateful for something, rather than just listing it out. For example, instead of writing “my family” try expanding on it by writing about specific qualities or moments that make you grateful for your family.
- Remember to also express gratitude for the little things in life, not just big events or accomplishments.
Gratitude is not only a great practice for kids, but for adults as well. Taking the time to sit down and write out the things we are grateful for can bring us joy and help us see all of the good in our lives. And don’t forget to let your kids have some independence in creating their own gratitude list.
Need more gratitude ideas for kids? Read: Free Printable Kids Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving