Why Gratitude is Important & Engaging Gratitude Activities for Kids

Why Gratitude in the Classroom?

Gratitude- she's not in our curriculum and we only seem to put her on a pedestal during Thanksgiving- so why should we bother doing otherwise?

If there was a party and Gratitude was invited, she would be the guest in the background giving a reassuring hug, making people actually feel heard when they speak and remaining perfectly poised during damage control when Impulse spils fruit punch on the wall again (the room would look fabulous painted pink, anyways).

The research surrounding the importance of being thankful extends from improving sleep quality (my husband and I write in a gratitude journal before bed each night and I admit that our sleeps have never been better!), to supporting a happier day-to-day which leads to self-fulfillment, better health, and relationships. 

Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of gratitude when he says, “When you’re present in gratitude, you can’t be anywhere else. When we allow our monk mind to express gratitude, we can beat the monkey mind’s feelings of self-doubt." Backed by Science, neuroscientist Alex Korb confirms that we cannot focus on positive and negative feelings at the same time.

If our goal is to help cultivate grounded, empathetic, team players, gratitude should be a no brainer pillar in our classroom or counseling group routines. 

Where to start? Below are 6 simple ways that you can inject gratitude and a feeling of thankfulness into your program right away.

How to Bring Gratitude into your Classroom 

1. By Modeling It

Like any skill, it's imperative that we model being grateful on a daily or weekly basis. This goes beyond using manners, as we need to also show how we feel while we are in the state of thankfulness. 


2. Through Crafts


Art therapy and gratitude go hand in hand as students are mindfully immersed in the process vs. the product. While they are cutting, pasting, coloring and arranging, they are learning how to create space for mindfulness and reflection.

3. Journaling


Having a gratitude journal with creative prompts on hand at desks or in the calm down corner can help guide us and to add perspective to days when we feel like the grass is greener elsewhere.

4. Through Team-Building 


Whole group challenges are an excellent way to self-validate our own strengths and value within a network. When we are given opportunity to think critically and creatively in a low-stress environment, we are inevitably left with that tingle from a strong inner voice telling us that we are a valued member of the community. 

5. Embed it into your Lessons



6. Morning Meetings


 Giving our students consistent opportunities to connect in gratitude with themselves, their peers and the world around them will make a huge impact to classroom management and empathy. 

  What's your favorite way to infuse gratitude into your elementary school or counseling program? 

Let me know in the comments below! 


Choose SEL & Be Well,
      Namaste in School


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