6 Reasons Why to Teach Kids to Be Grateful

1. Better Attitudes:

Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, Emmons, 2008).

2. Better Achieve Personal Goals:

Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.

3. Closer Relationships, Greater Happiness:

Professor Froh infused middle–school classes with a small dose of gratitude—and found that it made students feel more connected to their friends, family, and their school:

“By the follow–up three weeks later, students who had been instructed to count their blessings showed more gratitude toward people who had helped them, which led to more gratitude in general. Expressing gratitude was not only associated with appreciating close relationships; it was also related to feeling better about life and school. Indeed, compared with students in the hassles and control groups, students who counted blessings reported greater satisfaction with school both immediately after the two–week exercise and at the three–week follow–up.”

4. Better Grades:

Gratitude in children: 6-7th graders who kept a gratitude journal for only three weeks, had an increased grade point average over the course of a year.

5. Greater Energy, Attentiveness, Enthusiasm:

A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).

6. Greater Sensitivity:

Children who kept gratitude journals were more sensitive to situations where they themselves can be helpful, altruistic, generous, compassionate, and less destructive, more positive social behaviors, and less destructive, negative social behaviors…

“Gratitude is good for the giver, and good for the receiver,” Professor Emmons said. “This has been documented in friendships, romantic partners and spouses. One study showed that the mere expression of thanks more than doubled the likelihood that helpers would provide assistance again.”

And if We Don’t Practice Gratitude?

On the other hand, research shows that youth who are ungrateful are “less satisfied with their lives and are more apt to be aggressive and engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as early or frequent promiscuous activities, substance use, poor eating habits, physical inactivity, and poor academic performance.”

Research: Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

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