Teaching gratitude to kids starts with our own attitude. The absolute best way to instill grateful hearts in our children is by example. Whether it is showing and feeling gratitude towards another person or towards God, there are small (and big) ways we can do so. This starts in the heart, our own heart. The following is not an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point. This is how we can both learn and teach gratitude in our homes.
How To Teach Gratitude To Your Kids
Teaching Kids to be Thankful
Simply said, give thanks. This may be the most obvious thing we can do, but can often be overlooked in our busy lives. In prayer and out loud, express thanks to God for everything! You can do this at the dinner table when saying ‘grace’ and when you say bedtime prayers, of course.
Gratitude During Activities For Kids
Give thanks as you are doing activities throughout the day. Express gratitude in unplanned and random moments as well! Thank God for the joy in your day, the strength He has given you, the child at your side. Let them give thanks for playing, working, and resting as well. Your children will learn to see blessings in the ordinary and to Whom thanks is owed.
Express Gratitude Regularly
Always say “thank you”. Again, an obvious but important way to teach our children gratitude. Say “thank you” to them and others around you for acts of service. Children need to know you appreciate them and are thankful for them. When they know you are grateful for them (and their efforts) it will help them to see the importance of having (and showing) gratitude towards others.
Show Gratitude in More Than Words
Show thanks to others for their kindness towards you and your family. By “show” I mean take the time to show gratitude with more than just words of thanks. Bake a cake to bring to them as a gift of gratefulness. Help others in their time of need. Handwrite personal notes of gratefulness and mail them to those who have blessed you. Include your children and let them take an active role in the gratitude you/they have for others. Taking the time to serve others because you are thankful for their presence in your life shows gratitude from the heart.
Actually, count your blessings. Intentionally point out blessings throughout the day. Literally spend time with your children counting everything you are thankful for. Go so far as to have a ‘gratitude journal’ that you have handy every day to jot down blessings that either you or your children think of. Take it out every so often and read the blessings you have recorded to remind them and yourself of how blessed you are. Then practice the above steps of giving thanks to God, saying “thank-you” to your children, and showing gratitude to others.
Instilling Gratitude Habits: Practice Gratitude Today
- Pray out loud with your children expressing gratitude to God for His grace and for your children. Get specific, what is it about your children you are most thankful for?
- Use words to let your children know when you are grateful for their efforts – say “thank you” often!
- Use actions to show gratitude to your children and others. Do something kind and unexpected for your child (help them with a chore, invite them to spend time with you doing something they enjoy).
- Let them know you wanted to show them you are thankful for them. Talk about how someone has blessed your family and how you want to return the favor and then excitedly choose an act of service you can do as a family to show gratitude!
- Write it down! Use a blank notebook, a special gratitude journal, or sign up to receive the printable journaling pages in this post. Practice gratitude while recording blessings big and small that you and your children discover throughout the day.
Parenting is hard work, but it provides us with a lot of opportunities to learn and grow as God’s children while raising children for God. Read more parenting articles full of practical tips & encouragement for your parenting journey at my blog.
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|Clarissa R. West is a Christian, Wife, Homeschool Mom to 7 Children with Medical & Special Needs, Grieving Mom to 1 Child in Heaven, Homemaker, and Writer. You can find her at ClarissaRWest.com sharing practical tips & encouraging others to count blessings, seek joy, and find strength in Jesus.|
Lydia, I’m so glad you loved the ideas, and found them to be practical. I love your desire for your kids and how you worded that!
I love this and these ideas! Gratitude is something that feels so important for my kids to learn. We want to them to grow up not feeling entitled to things, but to realize that what they have is a gift, that what people give and do for them is a gift, that the life God gave them is a gift. Your ideas are so practical and easy to implement. Thanks!