Teaching your Child Gratitude through Teacher Appreciation

by Joy Turner November 17, 2023

granddaughter and grandmother take selfie

November, a month traditionally associated with thankfulness, is an ideal time for parents to undertake two essential tasks: Instill gratitude in their children and teach them how to express appreciation for their teachers. 

Good news, busy parents—you can accomplish both at once.  

Use this time to introduce fun and rewarding activities at home to help your children grow into more emotionally aware human beings while simultaneously bestowing much deserved recognition on the individuals who care for them daily.  

Here are some ideas, influenced by the Life Essentials® curriculum at Kiddie Academy®, to get you started:  

Gratitude—Talk about it 

Start by engaging your child in thoughtful discussion. Encourage your little ones to express what they’re grateful for at school, from the activities they enjoy to their favorite teachers.  

Use the following questions to help spark conversation: 

  • Have you heard of gratitude? What does it mean to you? 
  • What are some things you could do to make your teacher smile?  
  • What is something your teacher does that makes you feel happy?  
  • Why should we try to be grateful toward others?   

Discussing these subjects with your child is a great practice and can act as a collaborative session for you and your child to brainstorm and devise expressions of appreciation. 

Thankfulness—Write about it 

A simple yet effective way to help your child express thanks is by creating and delivering thoughtful cards.  

Fold a piece of stock paper in half and help your little ones write down some of their thoughts and feelings from your gratitude conversation. You can then encourage your children to get creative and use colors and pictures their teachers would enjoy seeing while decorating the card. Once your children have finished their cards, they can hand deliver them to their teachers. 

This thoughtful effort is guaranteed to delight both gifter and receiver.   

Recognition—Craft it 

Around preschool age, children begin to know when and how to say “thank you,” and are  learning to be appreciative of the specific things those around them do. Guide your children to take these beginning stages of gratitude a step further by creating a craft to help them express their feelings. 

For example, try this hands-on teacher appreciation tree activity:  

You will need: 

  • Poster boards, paper, scissors, glue or tape and colorful writing utensils.  


  • Cut the paper into leaf-shaped pieces. 
  • Help your children draw a tree trunk and branches on their poster boards. 
  • Once the tree is prepared, have your little ones take time each day to write down something their teacher does that makes them happy, or that they are grateful for.  
  • Using glue or tape, attach the leaf-shaped message to the tree.  
  • Practice this activity every day until the tree’s branches look full. Once complete, your children can gift the trees to their teachers.  

Not only will this kindness-filled tree make your child’s teacher smile, but it will also inspire your child to think of new ways to show appreciation and acknowledge the helpful actions of others.  

Appreciation—Show it 

If you feel your children are ready to take their gratitude practices to the next level, plan an activity in which they can show and tell their appreciation. Assist your little ones in making their teacher’s favorite baked goods, or help them learn a song to perform for their teachers.  

If your child is up for a performance, here’s a good song to try:  

“Thank You Song” 

(To the tune of “If You're Happy and You Know It”) 

When my friends let me play, I say thank you. 

When my friends let me play, I say thank you. 

I can see it makes them happy, 

When I say it so politely. 

Yes, good manners mean to always say thank you. 


Additional verses: 

When my teacher helps me out …  

When my family gives me hugs …  

When the dentist cleans my teeth …  

When the waitress brings my food …  


Reading is another excellent way to help your child learn about gratitude. Browse the local library with your little ones and encourage them to choose a gratitude-themed book to take to school and share with their teachers and friends. Encouraging your children to share their reading with peers will emphasize the significance of inspiring others to engage in kind actions as well. 

Here are some great options:  

Helping your children do this list of activities for their teachers will provide them with tangible examples of how they can display gratitude and appreciation. Encouraging little ones to put these qualities into practice early on develops them into emotionally intelligent and successful humans—ultimately leaving the world a more compassionate place.  

Joy Turner


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