Gratitude is a funny thing. It’s hard to teach at times, but such an important value to hold close for life. Without gratitude life can ring hollow. For me, gratitude ties in closely with mindfulness. That’s why I like this gratitude jar kids’ craft idea for families.
I’ve talked about self esteem before and self esteem crafts that help kids to grow more self esteem, but what about gratitude? How do you build a sense of gratitude from a young age that permeates a lifespan?
Eight Ways to Show Gratitude
Here are several ways to help build gratitude in kids as they grow.
Talk about the things YOU are grateful for as a parent. This can be a simple way for kids to understand that there are many things to be grateful for daily. I find that this works in conjunction with mental health. It is also a bonding activity in some ways. When my kids were tiny I would often state: I am so grateful we adopted you and that would support positive adoption language as well. All good things.
Share Something Sweet
Giving helps kids and adults feel good about themselves and also it can help to show and make gratitude concrete. So bake those cookies, cupcakes or brownies and deliver them to a neighbour. Watch them light up. You get the distinct feeling of baking something nice and sharing something sweet with a neighbour.
Share Your Time
Volunteer together. Look for chances to give back to your community. You can also model this by volunteering yourself as an adult. When you communicate to kids that this is just part of being a member of a community they are more inclined to understand that over the lifespan and find ways to give back as well.
List Five Things You Are Grateful For Each Night
One of my daughters does this thing before bed sometimes where she comes in to see me and gives me a hug and then recounts five special things about the day. I enjoyed taking a walk with you. I’m grateful for seeing the neighbour’s dog and having the chance to pet it on our walk, etc. You get the idea. This small thing helps lift us up before bed. Some people do this daily at dinner as a family. It is also a trick the kids learned at camp one year. We love it.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Remember your childhood diaries? Well, a gratitude journal is a little like that, but by stating the positive things every day in the morning or at night and creating your own positive little journal, you can help to create and explore positive grateful sentiment. I like this idea because it is a positive space for everyone. Obviously kids and teens have their own version of this and it is simple to do. Mine is sometimes on my phone and occasionally I use this space to explore gratitude as I did here – 85 Things I am Grateful For. These are often very simple daily details but they make me smile. Scooter Kid for instance and Mindy the dog.
Draw, Create, Make Something Beautiful
Art has many therapeutic benefits. One of my kids is very much tiny making art as a therapy tool, so you can also help elevate someone else with this. Draw something and post it in your window to brighten the neighbourhood or paint a picture and deliver it by mail to a relative you haven’t seen recently.
Pay a Compliment
Show gratitude and share some joy by simply eating a kindness forward and paying someone a compliment. My youngest daughter is excellent at this. They tell random strangers how much they love their nails or hair or simply say have a great day. It all helps and the positive smile is rewarding.
Make a Gratitude Jar Craft
This gratitude jar craft is a great craft for families. Here’s how to make yours.
Gratitude Jar for Kids
You can do this gratitude jar craft a couple of different ways. Print these two sheets out and make it a fun little two dimensional drawing activity. Or, go get a mason jar and make it a fully hands on gratitude activity that resonates. I veer towards hands on here because that’s the kind of thing that’s always spoken to my kids. We’re a hands on kind of family. It’s how the kids learn.
How do you find gratitude or how do you show gratitude? Sometimes I write down things I am grateful for. When things seem overwhelming I give that a lot of work. There are many days when it’s hard to find any reason to be grateful for anything especially during the pandemic, but doing these every week or even periodically can help to shift your mindset. That helps everyone in my family and I hope it helps yours too.
Don’t Miss These Other Craft Ideas
Remember to visit my free printables board if you need help looking for free activities for your kids to do. For a high quality print out of the life cycle content do not miss this downloadable Bee Life Cycle activity and you should be off to the races.