Learning to be grateful is a skill that will serve your kids for a lifetime. It will help them to be happier and more content with what they have as they grow.
But the truth is, many parents struggle with teaching this.
So how do you encourage gratitude in your family? There are so many things children take for granted. For instance, they may not understand why they should feel grateful for the food they get every day, or the clothes that are given to them without question, or how much their parents love them.
When you teach them these 7 Tips For Teaching Your Kids To Be Grateful, you’ll soon realize that teaching your kids to be grateful really isn’t a difficult thing! With some regular purposeful teaching, you can help them to develop a heart and spirit of gratitude.
7 Tips for Teaching Your Kids To Be Grateful
1. From the time they begin to talk, teach them to say thank you when you give them something or help them.
2. Train them to say “thank you for the meal” to the one who prepared it.
3. Have them write thank-you notes when someone gives them a gift or has been an encouragement and blessing to them.
4. When they are in a grumbling mood, gently help them think of something they can be thankful for.
5. Remind them often of how blessed we are, and all we have to be thankful for.
6. Always pray and thank God for the food He’s given you before eating meals.
7. Make sure you set the example of having “the gratitude attitude”. This is something I had to work on, as you will see by the following personal experience I tell!
Why is it important for children to learn gratitude?
I still remember when my kids were younger, and we had been teaching them Scripture songs. One of the songs we taught them was “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.” I explained to them that God wants us to give thanks for everything! Sometimes we won’t want to, and sometimes things may not be going as well as we’d like them to but we still need to be thankful because God says to.
A couple of weeks after we had that little talk, I was out running errands with the kids. It was a very bitter, cold windy day. One of the kids needed shoes and was in a size that was hard to find. We tried several stores, which meant hauling all the kids in and out, and getting the baby in and out of the car seat. By the time we came out of the third store, I was pretty irritable. I was cold and frustrated, and it showed. I was short and snippy with the kids and was complaining about the weather, the dumb stores, etc.
When we got everyone back in the van and started driving, God convicted me of my bad attitude. I told the kids I was sorry for having a bad attitude and complaining. Then I asked them what I needed to do to help me change my attitude. My daughter, who was about 6 years old at the time, quickly piped up, “Give thanks!” After singing “In everything give thanks” a couple of times, my attitude started to get better!
How do I teach my child to be grateful?
Our kids normally will take many things for granted unless we encourage them to be thankful. For example, we should remind them to thank Daddy for working so hard to take care of them.
When Mom stops what she is doing at home to take one of them to a special activity, remind them to say thanks.
When a sibling shares with them or helps them with something, encourage them to be thankful.
The best gift you can give your kids is the gift of a thankful heart.
Gratitude Activities For Kids
For some extra teaching about showing gratitude, play this game with your kids:
THE GRATITUDE CIRCLE GAME
Have the children sit in a circle. Toss a beanbag to one of the children. Have him say something he is thankful for, then toss the beanbag to someone else. Repeat till everyone has had at least two turns to share something!
We know that the more gratitude we have, the happier we are. Kids are no exception to this rule. As parents, it is our duty to teach our kids gratitude, so why not plan something specific to do TODAY to get started! Some of the best ways to teach kids about gratitude are by encouraging it in the home, celebrating small wins and big achievements, and giving them opportunities to give back.
And if you’re looking for some more help on how to teach gratitude to a teenager, take a moment to read this post!