How to Teach Gratitude to Tweens

Gratitude is powerful and can change perspectives. Here’s how to teach gratitude to tweens and instil this positive habit.

In the digital era, where choices are infinite and the imbalance between haves and wants continues to grow indefinitely, it can come across as a great dispute in teaching and showing kids (particularly pre-teens) the importance of practicing gratitude. But there are creative ways to teach gratitude to tweens.

Adolescence isn’t an age that appeals to many (particularly the ones experiencing it) and all those hormonal and physical changes tend to make tweens the opposite of calm and grateful.

However, no matter the road taken or the obstacles faced, the final destination is always worth it. This will be, too!

Evident Results or Research

According to the research conducted by the Journal of School Psychology and Psychological Assessment, “children practicing gratitude tend to follow a more optimistic approach to life, score better in academics, develop long-lasting relationships and are much more sociable than their apparently ungrateful counterparts.”

Moreover, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology declares gratitude as a better indicator of happiness and optimism than other relevant qualities like endurance, self-control, and forgiveness.

Seeing all that, the value of teaching, and having tweens practice gratitude until it gets twined in their lives can’t be stressed enough.

Here, we talk in detail about some of the most effective ways to teach tweens the significance of gratefulness.

Model Gratitude

Children get the first and most impactful schooling of their lives through imitating their parents. So, if the parents take a firm stand and represent themselves as role models for their troubled tweens, they can change the game completely.

This quote sums it up: “Children are great imitators. So, give them something great to imitate.”

There are dozens of ways you can present yourself as a role model for your kids. Some basic yet powerful ones are:

  • Saying ‘thank you’ at even the smallest kindness such as someone holding a door for you or serving you a meal. 
  • Saying ‘thank you’ at even the smallest kindness such as someone holding a door for you or serving you a meal. 
  • Saying ‘thank you’ at even the smallest kindness such as someone holding a door for you or serving you a meal. 

Teach the Art of Saying Thank You

Teaching gratitude does not have to be stressful. You can try to go for a much subtle approach and praise them whenever they say “thank you,” to anybody, for anything. 

Everybody likes being praised and adolescents are no different. When you compliment a good quality, it grows further and bears fruit. On the contrary, when you criticize a bad quality, the situation may worsen and makes room for hatred to grow.

Ask Gratitude Queries

Got your tween into the beneficial hit of saying thank you? Great.

Then, it’s time to dig further into the surface. Whenever you hear your child express gratitude towards a certain kindness, ask him/her the reason behind those words. According to the Raising Grateful Children Project at UNC Chapel Hill, there are four fundamental components that build up gratitude.

  • Recognition: Paying heed to the things deserving appreciation.
  • Conception: Guessing the reasons as to why that kindness was done upon you.
  • Analyzing: Paying conscious thought to the emotions you feel.
  • Reaction: The way you react or express gratitude.

Pre-teens become conscious about the conception and analysis when you ask them questions about the same in simple words. A fun way of doing this is making it into a playful discussion.

Commit Gracious and Kind Acts

Teach your kids the different ways they can appreciate the things their family, friends and neighbors do for them. For example, helping an old neighbor when they are watering plants and so on. 

Along with showing them the instances, you may do these yourself. Being the excellent imitators that the pre-teens are, they will pick these up themselves.

Here are  70 Simple Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do Everyday.

Gratitude Project for the Entire Family

A great way to practice mutual gratitude in the family is through creating projects. One of such engaging projects that can arouse enthusiasm among family members is by telling each member of the family to write down deeds they’re grateful for and dumping them in a jar.

After a month (or even a week later) you can extract all those gratitude slips and spend some quality time together while reading those. Sounds fun?

Looking for other Fun Family projects? Here’s a list of ten.

Daily Gratitude Rituals

Make it into a routine habit to express gratitude for everyday things and encourage your tween (and other family members) to do so as well.

Now, you may say that gratitude should be intuitive and natural instead of being researched everyday like a movie script. But believe it when I say, when practiced daily, noticing the acts of kindness and being grateful becomes second nature to them.

You can also encourage your tweens to maintain a gratitude journal and write 3 things they’re grateful for every day. 

Searching for the Silver Linings

Whenever anything bad or awful happens in your tween’s life, ask him or her whether there was any upside (bright spot) to the situation. This approach will stimulate your child’s brain to look for and emphasize the positive aspects and abandon the negative ones.

You may have discussions on articles like this and ask your pre-teen to try and add more points to it.

Closing Thoughts

Incorporating gratitude as a keystone habit into your kid’s life will affect not only him or her but everybody who comes into personal contact with them on a regular basis. The significance of gratitude makes it important to apply different tactics and strategies to make your kid cultivate the habit.


If your tween ever acts out at a time or refuses to appear as grateful, don’t lose confidence. Give them the space to vent out their frustration or anger. On the bright side, you may use these occurrences as meaningful lessons and further improve your approach for the next time.