Regularly sitting children down to write thank you notes may no longer be the order of the day, but teaching kids to acknowledge the kindness of others is always in style – and not simply because it’s the right thing to do.
Research shows that the benefits children can reap by giving thanks – such as greater happiness and resiliency, boosted brainpower, better sleep and a stronger immune system – shouldn’t be overlooked. So encourage your children to express their gratitude in fun and unique ways; these five outside-the-box options are a terrific place to start!
1. Make a masterpiece. Kids love to create, so hand your little ones a box of crayons and a fresh sheet of paper and ask them to say thanks with a special work of art. If they can’t deliver it in person, take a picture of them holding it up and text it to their recipient. You can also post the image to your Facebook or Twitter page so others can see it – and maybe even spur them to send their own thank you to someone who deserves it.
2. Plant “gratitude blooms.” Cultivating flower seeds in small, clean glass jars that would otherwise go into the recycling bin is an inexpensive way for children to “say it with flowers” when showing their appreciation for someone who has extended them a kindness. Bonus: Bringing the seeds to bloom is a fun learning opportunity too!
3. Sing a song. A quick video clip of your child singing a few bars of an appropriate ditty – like “You Are My Sunshine,” “Gratitude” by Earth, Wind & Fire or “In My Life” by the Beatles – sent to someone’s inbox will surely put a smile on their face all day long.
4. Do a good deed. We all know the old adage, “actions speak louder than words.” Drive your kids to put that into practice by urging them to do things for others like take on a household chore, run an errand or offer up their babysitting services. Just make sure that whatever you suggest is age-appropriate.
5. Send them a treat. Whether it’s a plate of homemade brownies, a gift card for a cup of coffee or even just someone’s favorite candy bar tied up with a bow, saying thanks with something sweet is always a welcome treat!