Gratitude involves both feeling and expressing our thankfulness; it means we show our appreciation for others. According to the Harvard Healthbeat, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” For a three-year-old, gratitude involves knowing how and when to say “thank you.” Three-year-olds can also begin to identify and name things that make them feel thankful, such as a favorite toy or a visit from grandma.
Character Helping Your Three-Year-Old Express Gratitude
Try these simple ideas to help your child express gratitude:
Children imitate adult behavior. In your daily interactions, model saying "thank you" to store clerks, teachers, librarians and family members. Encourage your child to follow suit. When you write a thank you note to someone they know, let them add a picture or dictate a few words. As they get older, encourage them to write their own thank you cards or make thank you gifts for people who have touched their lives, such as teachers, coaches or community helpers.
Host a Pretend Dinner Party
Dressing up and hosting a pretend dinner party can be a fun way to practice good manners.Do This Activity
Create a Gratitude Jar
A gratitude jar is as simple as it sounds. You need a large clear jar, a stack of sticky notes and a pen. Have each family member write (or draw) something that they are grateful for a few times a week. It can be small things, like a favorite food, or big things, like time spent with a grandparent. At the end of the week, read the gratitude slips together as a family.
Share "Three Good Things" Each Day
As a family, make it a ritual to share three good things that happened that day. This is a perfect way to connect at dinnertime or bedtime. Simply ask children, "What made you happy today? What are you thankful for?" And don't forget to share your own reflections, modeling for your kids a daily attitude of gratitude for the small things in life.
Make a “Coupon Book” of Helpful Gifts
Making gift coupons is one way to say “I love you.” Together with your child, create a coupon book of ways your child can help with a family task or give as a gift on special occasions.Do This Activity
Build Good Character Skills with Daniel Tiger
Through imagination, creativity and music, Daniel and his friends learn the key skills necessary for school and for life, using strategies grounded in the teachings of Mister Rogers.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Three-Year-Old
ActivitiesView All Activities
AppsView All Apps
PBS Parents Play & Learn
Designed specifically with parents in mind, this app provides more than a dozen math and literacy games that parents can play with their kids. Each game builds on the natural curiosity of children and is themed around a familiar location like the garden or grocery store.