November is the month of Thanksgiving, and a great time to talk with children about gratitude and about the importance of recognizing the people and things in their lives that they are thankful for. It also brings an opportunity to introduce new activities through the lens of thankfulness. In this article, we do that, with a special focus on music and movement activities that can help all of us to make thankfulness part of our daily lives.
The Importance of Gratitude for Young Children
Talking about gratitude with young children supports their social-emotional development and overall wellbeing. Colleen Beck, an occupational therapist and founder of The OT Toolbox, explains that “gratitude leads to self-awareness, perspective of others, kindness, and empathy. For children, having and expressing gratitude helps them to recognize the tools they have already as a way to be resilient against obstacles and challenges. When kids are aware of the things they have, the special skills they possess, or people they have in their corner, they can use those things so they are empowered, and not overwhelmed.”
Gratitude Movement and Music
Young children love opportunities to move their bodies. Music, dance, and other mindful movement activities can be a great way to open the door to conversations about gratitude.
Yoga provides an opportunity for children to learn about body and mind connection. It can be an activity that is done before nap time to help children calm their bodies, or in the morning to set the mood for the day ahead.