The ability to express gratitude is a skill that does not come naturally to most people, but it is one of the most valuable social skills a child can learn. Showing appreciation for gifts, favors, and assistance helps students to get along with other people more effectively.
Overview and Preparation
Showing gratitude is one of the most important social skills a child can learn. This lesson plan will encourage students to express their gratitude at appropriate times and in appropriate ways.
Have on hand thank you cards or paper for students to use. Have a sample thank you note for the students to refer to.
Begin by asking students to remember a time when someone did something nice for them or gave them a gift. Ask them how they showed appreciation to that person. Discuss why it is important to show thankfulness, bringing out the following points:
• When you show someone you are thankful, it makes that person more likely to help you or to be kind to you in the future.
• Showing thankfulness makes everyone feel good.
• It is a way show respect to the person who helped you or gave you a gift.
• You should express thankfulness whenever you receive a gift, a compliment, or when someone does something kind to help you out.
Now, have the class brainstorm different ways to express gratitude:
• Sometimes, a simple smile can express your thanks.
• It is always appropriate to send a thank you card or note when you receive a gift.
• When you have the opportunity, you can express gratitude by helping a person out in return.
• Sometimes, a gift is a great way to show your thanks to someone who has helped you. Often, homemade gifts are more meaningful.
Have the students think of someone who has helped them, given them a gift, or been especially kind to them in some way recently. Have them write a thank you note to give to this person. They should specifically mention what they are thanking the person for and what they liked about the gift, or how they were helped by the action. If your students are too young to write very much, have them draw a picture of the gift or the act that they are thankful for, with the words “Thank you" copied onto the picture.
The Thank You Book for Kids: Hundreds of Creative, Cool, and Clever Ways to Say Thank You! by Ali L. Spizman
Thanks, Aunt Zelda!: Thank-You Cards for Kids to Craft by Cynthia Macgregor and Anouk Perusse-Bell