Questions & conversations with kids: on gratitude
A while ago, Raul, Tinybop’s founder, wrote about the questions he asks his kids at the end of the day to garner a response besides “Nothing.”
Instead of asking a big, open-ended question like, “What did you do at school today?” he started asking things like, “How did your story about the octopus end?” or “Was [name redacted] mean to you today?” to spark richer conversations. His kids needed a little more context to really start talking. Likewise, kids need a little coaching to start thinking and talking about things they’re grateful for.
We know expressing gratitude has many benefits. It can improve our relationships, our physical and mental health, and increase empathy and self-esteem. But as author Homa S. Tavangar explains on PBS Kids, it’s not something that always comes easily to kids. She writes, “kids under seven have difficulty understanding others' feelings and being internally motivated to do the right thing. Nonetheless, parents can actively, gently instill a sense of gratitude.” You can help not only by modeling gratitude, but also by making it a part of everyday conversation.
In our app Me: A Kid’s Diary, kids can answer prompts about their families, school, their friends and more. In this context, they can also answer the prompt, “I am most grateful for this.” They can answer it as many times as they like — it’s a good place to start. Here are 20 more questions to spark conversations about gratitude with your kids at the dinner table or at bedtime, any day.
Did anyone do something nice for you today?
Did you see someone do something nice for someone else?
Tell about a time when someone helped you by: finding something that was lost, sharing a snack when you were hungry, loaning their coat when you were cold, or anything else.
What’s your favorite animal? Why are you grateful it’s a part of our world?
Is there someone you’re having a hard time getting along with? What are three things you’re grateful for about that person?
What’s your favorite toy? Why do you like it so much?
Tell about a time someone else shared a toy with you.
What’s your favorite place outside our home? Inside our home? Why?
Think about the people you see on your way to or from school: a neighbor, the bus driver, the mail carrier. Who are you grateful for?
Are there friends or family members who live far away that you miss? Tell me something you miss about them.
Is there someone in this room you’re thankful for?
What was the weather like today? What’s one good thing about this kind of weather?
Did anyone thank you for doing something nice today?
What’s your favorite sense? Smell, touch, taste, hearing, seeing or feeling? Why?
Did someone or something make you laugh today?
Name three people you can say thank you to for something today.
What’s your favorite game? Did you get to play it today?
Think about all the people who helped bring food to our table. Where did it grow? Who cooked it? Who cleaned up?
What’s your favorite food? Tell about the last time you ate it.
What was the best thing that happened today? What was the worst?
Me: A Kid’s Diary gives kids a safe place to respond to hundreds of prompts about themselves and the world around them in words, recordings, drawings, photos, animations, and more. We hope it helps them express themselves, build self-awareness, social-awareness, and empathy. You can find the app on the App Store.
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