Getting back into the school routine is always tricky, but especially this year. Even a month into the school year, kids may still be feeling excited and nervous all at once. The disruption last year interfered not only with education, but with their relationships and social skills. No wonder they are bubbling with feelings!

The good news is that because of the brain’s “plasticity” we can help our children create new neural pathways allowing them to cope with stress in more positive ways. One way to do this is to regularly practice grateful thinking.

Practicing gratitude works to improve mental health, happiness, and relationships. Neuroscience proves this to be true (and we love brain science!). Research shows that people who regularly practice grateful thinking:

  • Feel better about their lives as a whole
  • Are more optimistic about the future
  • Are more likely to help others
  • Have better relationships
  • Have better sleep, exercise more frequently, and have fewer physical symptoms
  • Feel happier, and are less lonely

How to Get Started

Start by helping your child think of one thing they are grateful for about going back to school. You can paint back-to-school gratitude rocks or read our Grateful Goat story together. Take it a step further and start a gratitude journal, create a gratitude garden, or make a gratitude chain.

Some of our favorite books on this topic include: When Grandma Gives You a Lemon TreeZen PigThe Thankful Book, and Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Let Us Know How It’s Going

If you start a gratitude practice at home, please drop us a line!

We want to hear how it impacts your family as you get back into the school routine.

About the Author

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Amanda Petersen

Amanda is the Executive Director of FocusedKids. As a licensed professional counselor, parent, and former teacher, she has a wealth of experience and knowledge that she is able to rely on in guiding the organization.