It’s that time of year again (Thanksgiving!) when gratitude is on our minds here at CLC. Have you ever wondered how children learn the concept of gratitude? We decided to read up on the topic and here’s what we found.

By Wendi Ostroff

Until 2005, there were few, if any, studies on gratitude and children, but recently more information is being collected on the topic.  Some of the findings seem obvious, that gratitude and happiness are connected, and that doing good for others makes you feel good, too – but some findings are a little more surprising. For example, in a study by researchers Jeffrey J. Froh and Giacomo Bono (authors of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, 2014) they found that “grateful kids also report more self-discipline, fulfilling relationships, and engagement with their schools and communities.” In other words, gratitude helps kids to be happier in school and more optimistic about their futures. Gratitude–being thankful and appreciative–can be fostered in kids of all ages. One of the best methods for teaching gratitude is to surround children with adults who model the desired behaviors. If your child is too young to understand the concept of gratitude, there are wonderful books and stories available to help children connect at their level.

Below is a list of articles on the topic of gratitude and children.

  • 19 Children’s Books about Gratitude

This list of books for children includes our favorites The Giving Tree and The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings along with many others you will remember from childhood.

  • Seven Ways to Foster Gratitude in Kids

This organization out of Berkeley leads the way in scientific research on this topic.  Their work is referenced in most articles about gratitude and their book Making Grateful Kids is quoted in our introduction.

  • Ten Ways to Raise Grateful Kids

We like most everything coming from PBS Parents and this article is no exception. It provides ten easy-to-follow tips for parents.

  • Gratitude: the cure for entitlement and materialism

Written by Hank Pellissier for Pellissier provides information from experts for combatting entitlement and promoting an attitude of gratitude.