Gratitude is feeling of thanks or appreciation for someone or something in your life. This can be little things like feeling grateful when someone lets you go in trafﬁc or big things like feeling thankful for your health.
The best way to practice gratitude is to express it. Expression can happen through thoughts of gratefulness, thanking others directly or writing words of appreciation. Embracing gratitude regularly can be a helpful tool for adults and kids to increase positive emotions, build strong relationships, and deal with adversity. The following Gratitudes Leaves activity is a fun way for children to practice gratitude.
How do I use Leaves of Gratitude?
1. Print out the worksheet below, which contains blank leaves. You can print these worksheets on colored paper or color them in as part of the activity.
2. Explain gratitude and provide examples of gratitude by sharing something like: “Gratitude means thinking of things that we are thankful for in our lives. These can be things that others do for us like sharing a toy at recess. It can also be things like being thankful for having food to eat or a house to live in. I am grateful for (provide example here).”
3. Encourage the child to write or draw one thing that they are grateful for on each leaf that you have printed.
4. Reﬂect with the child on why this thing or experience feels particularly important for them.
5. You can have the child do this all in one sitting as one activity or you can have your child do a leaf a day to continue to practice gratitude.
6. Get creative with the leaves! Below are some ideas for ways to display the leaves
- Punch a hole in the stem of each leaf and thread string through the leaves to create a mobile type display.
- Punch a hole in the stem of each leaf and hang it from sticks found outside to make a “tree.”
- Encourage the child to pass the leaves around to other children, adults, or family members to start conversations or to express appreciation for the other person.
- Place gratitude leaves from one or more people into a container, and draw out a leaf and read from it at a certain time — families may read from gratitude leaves every night during dinner, or professionals working with children may read from gratitude leaves as part of a beginning or ending ritual during meetings.
Note from Mightier Clinicians
Showing gratitude has many emotional health benefits for children. Expressing and sharing gratitude can improve moods, improve social bonds, and even improve physical health.