TEACHING CHILDREN ABOUT GRATITUDE

This time of year, children are exposed to what seems like endless treats, goodies, and gifts.  With all of the excess around them, it becomes a constant challenge to keep them focused on being grateful for the fortunes they already have.  

Each month, our grandchildren's elementary school focus on a character trait.  In December, they are learning about GENEROSITY, and focusing on BEING KIND, GIVING BACK, and GRATITUDE.

Our granddaughter's Brownie Troop recently adopted a family at a local homeless shelter and bought gifts from a families wish list for three young girls and their mother.  After wrapping the gifts, they made "Gratitude Soup" by decorating a bowl and writing down the "ingredients" on slips of paper of things that they are grateful for, such as a "good food", "a warm bed", and "cool clothes". 

If you are looking for a way to fun way to teach and instill gratitude this holiday season and beyond, these two books are great resources!  

GRATITUDE SOUP: by Olivia Rosewood

http://www.amazon.com/Gratitude-Soup-Olivia-Rosewood/dp/1448681286/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=08SD1SPBG9S3C55Z9SHV

Violet the Purple Fairy learns how to make Gratitude Soup by thinking of all the things, people, places, and experiences that she is grateful for, putting them in an imaginary soup pot. She is able to shrink her pot of soup with her imagination, and she keeps the gratitude warm and flowing in her heart all day and all night. Perfect for teaching your children about gratitude with fun and play, this rhyming, colorful 8x10 picture book combines collage and watercolors as Violet the Purple Fairy tells her own story of cooking with gratitude. Your children might even be inspired to make their own Gratitude Soup! Look for the "Create Your Own" version of this book, an arts and crafts version of this story that allows your child to make their own gratitude soup. There is scientific evidence showing that gratitude dramatically changes brain chemistry, leading to a peaceful mind and healthy body. Although gratitude has been a staple of human faith and philosophy for thousands of years, the formal scientific exploration of gratitude only began in the year 2000, and it has been fervently studied ever since. In one study performed at UC Davis, published in the Journal of School Psychology, those who had a daily gratitude activity had more positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy. Gratitude can lead to fewer physical ailments, as well as an enhanced feeling of well being. Children who practiced gratitude showed more positive attitudes toward their school and their families. They are less likely to judge others, and also less jealous. They are more likely to share and to want to help. Without a doubt, gratitude is a powerful life tool. When I tried to teach my own children about gratitude, they asked me, "But what is gratitude?" I was inspired to create this book to help them understand and experience what gratitude is about. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

GRATEFUL: A SONG OF GIVING THANKS: by John Bucchini

http://www.amazon.com/Grateful-Giving-Thanks-Andrews-Collection/dp/006051633X/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1TVWCKXFNNYC19P5FRGT

CD with an original recording by Art Garfunkel included

Once in a while, a perfect union of words and music creates a transcendent song that soars from the heart and speaks to every soul ...

Grateful is such an anthem -- a loving reminder of the gifts available to us when we approach life with gratitude. It is a song that inspires courage, compassion, and hope.

In this exquisite picture book and accompanying CD recorded by Art Garfunkel, Anna-Lisa Hakkarainen's radiant paintings bring John Bucchino's words to life. A joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature, and the blessings of faith, here is a gift to be treasured by children and adults of all ages.