The Gift of Gratitude

Gratefulness tends to rub off on people.

We see it at camp: the staff model relentlessly grateful hearts and behavior to our campers. When campers return home, parents often report their kids are more grateful.

Numerous research studies show the benefits of being grateful – everything from increased happiness to better sleep. But new research on children and gratitude is even more compelling: studies found children who experience gratitude have greater life satisfaction, better grades, less depression, less envy and a more positive outlook overall.

When we vocalize gratefulness, it has the extra benefit of rubbing off on our kids, too. But, gratitude is like a muscle and it works best when exercised daily.

Three Good Things

For two weeks, have each family member write down three good things they are grateful for each day and then talk about them around the dinner table or at bedtime.

  • The three things can be big (“I got the lead in the school play“) or small (“My friend brought me a donut for school“)
  • Be specific – when did it happen, who did it and what exactly did they say
  • Have everyone express how it made them feel (both when it happened and later when they’re reflecting)
  • Talk about why you’re grateful

This simple 10-minute exercise teaches your kids to notice, remember and see all of the good things around them.

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