November 1st is coming up, and it marks the start of what many celebrate as the month of giving thanks. All across social media, you will find people of all ages sharing their 30 Days of Gratitude and 30 Days of Thanks. The idea centers around Thanksgiving, and sharing what you are grateful for each day.

For me, Thanksgiving truly is a time to reflect on, and to give thanks for, life’s bountiful gifts. Along with empathy, understanding the importance of expressing gratitude is something that you can actually teach your child, and this month of giving thanks and Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to start.

Here are some tips to help you foster gratitude in your child.

  1. Be
    what you want to see.
    Make a point to express gratitude in the presence of
    your child. Let your child hear you saying “Thank you!” to the person who
    holds open the door for you at the post office, and the grocery store
    checker. Talk about how grateful you are for clear skies on your morning
    walk together. Take your child with you to drop off a thank you gift to
    your friend. The more your child sees gratitude built into your life, the
    more likely he will be to incorporate it intrinsically into his own daily

  2. Give
    your child a gratitude journal.
    You can purchase a simple lined journal,
    or even make one from a stack of stapled blank paper. Inscribe a special
    message from you to your child in the inside cover, and help your child
    get into the practice of writing one to five things that he is grateful
    for each day. These can be simple one-word answers or full sentences, and
    be sure your child knows that there are no wrong answers.

  3. Set
    aside time to write in your gratitude journals together.
    While you are
    having your morning tea and your child is enjoying a healthy breakfast,
    sit down at the kitchen table together and simultaneously write in your
    gratitude journals. He will see the importance you place in giving thanks
    each day, and he will start to have the same respect and understanding of
    gratitude in his own life.

  4. Talk
    about it
    . I encourage each family to have family meetings once a week,
    using my empathic process. Choose a neutral space such
    as the kitchen, the heart of the home where alchemy happens, and allow
    each member to have a turn discussing specific events or concerns that
    week, without judgment. This is also a good time to express gratitude;
    ending the meeting by acknowledging something or someone to be thankful
    for helps everyone leave on a positive note, and also helps to further
    instill a sense of gratitude in your child.

  5. Help
    your child find deeper values and goals.
    Help your child think about the
    world around him, and ask him from time to time what he thinks is truly
    important in life. Encourage him to help others, even in the smallest of
    ways, and to find value in non-materialistic items. Teaching him to value
    people and goals that go beyond wealth or fame helps him feel a sense of
    gratitude for the friendships and community in his life.

In life, empathy, kindness, and gratitude go hand in hand. The earlier you help teach your child to have these qualities, the more it will become second nature to his life. Fostering a deep sense of gratitude early on can help give your child a wonderful perspective on life, one that includes giving thanks well beyond the Thanksgiving holiday.

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  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.