One of the most rewarding parts of parenthood (at least in my eyes) is watching your child experience all the many positive things life has to offer them as they grow up. Whether it be dancing to their favourite tune, playing with their friends or watching their football team score a goal, there’s something so special about seeing their faces light up with unadulterated joy, and I feel so appreciative to have those lasting memories of my own children to look back on with fondness.

Unlike adults, who unfortunately will have experienced a lot of life’s ‘downs’ and therefore know to feel especially grateful for the ‘ups’ when they come, children see the world as such an exciting and wonderous place that a lot of them may not fully appreciate the positives they have in front of them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this – it’s actually part of the beauty of being a child – but I truly believe discussing gratitude and appreciation with them at an early age can set them up really well for when they get older and some of that shine on the world rubs off a little.

By this, I don’t mean we should sit them down and give them a ‘life is cruel and unfair’ speech, of course – quite the opposite, in fact! I think it’s so important to teach them about appreciation and gratitude by focusing on the positives they already have in their lives in a fun and enjoyable way, right down to the small and seemingly insignificant ‘normal, everyday things’ that most of us overlook. In my opinion, this is a much more effective route versus taking a ‘be grateful because other people have it worse than you’ approach which I have seen and heard other adults take with each other, which has little to no positive effect and can skew the true meaning of ‘gratitude’ entirely.

You can start with something quite simple and easy, such as asking your child about one positive thing that happened to them during that day while you’re eating an evening meal together. Their answer could be along the lines of “I played football with my friend today” or “I had my favourite pancakes for breakfast this morning”, for example, but there is no ‘wrong answer’ here. The “what” isn’t the most important thing; the way they felt is.

So, instead of stopping at that “what”, dive a little deeper and ask them how that something made them feel and what they liked most about it. If they struggle to think of something, you can set a good example by sharing a positive part of your own day with them as well or, better still, if you’ve experienced something positive together, you can use that and tell them how good you felt, too!

This allows them to connect the event and experience to a positive emotion rather than just a word and this in turn will help them understand that you can ‘appreciate’ more than just material objects such as birthday presents – we can be grateful for people, places and experiences, too.


For younger children (or children who perhaps struggle to fully understand the concept of feeling ‘grateful’), one really good resource I’ve come across is the book Grateful, illustrated by Sarah Ward, which provides some lovely examples of real-world scenarios where someone might feel thankful, so I think it’s well worth borrowing a copy from your local library or purchasing one for yourself if you wish to use it as a tool for your family or in your homeschool.


For older children and teenagers, I’ve found podcasts and YouTube videos can be a really useful tool that is educational but still entertaining for them, thus encouraging them to engage more deeply and in their own time. There are so many different ones out there, each of them covering different topics such as gratitude, mindfulness and wellbeing, so I think it’s well worth doing a little research to find some that are both in line with your values but also contain content that your child will enjoy alongside your own teachigns about gratitude.

An alternative (or addition) to your daily discussions about gratitude with your child is to give them a little notebook that they can keep by their bed to write or draw about one thing they’re happy or thankful for each day. You can find specially designed gratitude journals online or in your local book shop, should you wish to buy one, but a self-made journal or even just a standard notepad will work just as well.

It can be shared with you or kept private if they wish, but the main idea is for it to be a fun exercise that not only encourages them to reflect on their day, but also gives them something they can look back on as a reminder of something good if they ever have a bad day.

If this isn’t a habit they’re able to get into, why not bring it into your homeschool instead (or as well)? It can be a quick, five minute task that you integrate into your school day, or perhaps a little ongoing project you work on together, using the theme “Why I am grateful for…” as an example. Not only does this help bring a boost of positive energy into their day – it also helps them get into a healthy habit of actively looking for positivity and happiness around them that they can continue as they grow up.

The key here is to be consistent and to show them appreciation and gratitude rather than just teach them what each word means in order for them to truly understand what are actually quite complex concepts for a child! You may even find your own perspective on life shifts to a more positive one as part of this process as you’ll start to pick up on the good things more, too, and that’s never a bad thing!

If you’d like some more inspiration on how to introduce topics and themes to your child as part of your homeschool day, or simply wish for a little assistance in planning tasks and lessons, why not get in touch by clicking here?

Until next time,