Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families when teaching K-3 students about gratitude. It is designed to complement the Gratitude Topic on BrainPOP Jr.  

Ask students to think of a time when they felt gratitude, or thankfulness, for something. What did that feel like? What prompted the feeling? Explain that sometimes we feel grateful for particular events or experiences, and at other times we feel gratitude for the good things in our everyday lives. 

Remind students that gratitude is the feeling of being grateful and appreciating the world around you. It’s an emotion, just like happiness, sorrow, or anger—but it’s an emotion we can actively  promote in order to enjoy and appreciate our lives more. We feel gratitude when we are thankful for our friends, family, health and the other things we enjoy. Gratitude is about noticing and appreciating people and things in our world. 

Gratitude is important because it makes us feel happy and loving at the same time. And, since gratitude feels good in our bodies and minds, it helps us learn better, be better friends, and take better care of those we love. We can show compassion when someone feels upset, because we know that they would do the same.  Compassion is kindness, caring, and wanting to help someone in need. Feeling gratitude helps us to feel compassion, which in turn helps other people show compassion to others. 

We can practice, or develop, gratitude by taking time out to think about what we’re grateful for and why. These don’t have to be big things—in fact, it’s better if they’re not! We can feel gratitude for the feeling we have when playing with our pets, talking on the phone to a friend, or for eating a good dinner. 

To practice gratitude, remind students to think about what they’re grateful for and then notice how they feel. Point out that they will probably feel warm on the inside and calm, and that this feeling may make them want to express gratitude by spreading the good feeling to the world around them. 

Practicing gratitude is always helpful, but it’s particularly important when we’re going through a hard time. We often focus on what’s bad when we are stressed, sad, worried or upset. If we instead look at what’s good in our lives, it can help us feel better. Once we remember that not everything is bad, we have more energy to fix what’s worrying us. 

There are many ways to practice gratitude every day. We can keep a gratitude journal, where we write down big and little things we appreciate. We can remember something kind someone did for us, and let them know it made a difference. Simply sharing kind thoughts and words with someone is a form of gratitude. Another important way to practice gratitude is just to sit and observe the world around us! 

Remind children that it can be challenging even for adults to practice gratitude. As with many other skills, gratitude is something children can practice every day, like a musical instrument they  want to learn. By teaching children to practice gratitude, we’re helping them develop a healthy understanding of the relationship between appreciation and compassion, and also helping them create lifelong friendships.