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Raising Grateful Kids

The last thing any parent or teacher wants is to see a kid grow up to act entitled like the world owes you something. Humility and gratitude are universal traits we all uphold. Kids, by nature and age, live in the center of their own world and grow up expecting to be given what they need. Because, well- they're kids. But we need to teach them how to recognize that life is not all about them. In fact, life works better when we put others first and show gratitude for what we’ve been given. 

Most students don’t practice gratitude, and they won't unless they learn how powerful and relevant it can actually be for their everyday life. There's fascinating research from neuroscience and psychologists in recent years:

Gratitude makes you healthier: It’s been shown to lower stress, reduce pain, and even improve our immune systems, blood pressure, and heart function.

Gratitude makes you happier: Scientists studying positive psychology found that a one-time act of thoughtful gratitude produced an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% reduction in depressive symptoms.

Gratitude rewires your brain: you begin new pathways of positive thinking, positive action, and pro-social behavior. It gives you an experience of joy, thankfulness, and connection (it takes at least 15 seconds of intentional savoring and thoughtful concentration).

Raising grateful kids doesn’t happen by accident. They won’t grow up that way automatically—they must be taught the importance of gratitude, see it modeled, and practice it over time.

Research has proven that grateful people have stronger social bonds. Duh. Does anyone like being around an entitled person? Nope.

One simple exercise you can do is to pick someone you’re grateful for, write down at least 5 reasons why, and then either write them a letter (not a text!), call them and share the list with them, or tell them face to face.

Bonus points if you bribe your kids to try it, too. But even if they don’t, if they see you do it, that’s a homerun.


Do you know?

For years we’ve been studying what a young person needs in order to transition into a healthy, thriving adulthood.  

They're uncommon sense ideas, really.

Download this checklist and use it with your students (or kids).

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