Teaching Gratitude to Kids

A lot of parents want their kids to be thankful for the things they have. We work hard as parents and we would like to see our kids appreciate it and give thanks. Not only that but everyday is a gift in its own and there is so much to be thankful for. How do we teach our kids to appreciate the beauty and be thankful?

It’s really easy for kids to take things for granted. With materialistic values all around in the media with this idea that more is better, kids tend to really just want more stuff and miss the whole thankful picture.

It seems like if we want our own kids to be thankful, we have to first do it ourselves. We have to walk the walk when it comes to our kids.

5 things to be thankful for

At the end of the day, I invite you to write down at least 5 things that you are thankful for. When this becomes a regular practice in your life, you will see that your brain will start noticing things that you can be thankful for throughout the day. The clouds, the wind, the shadows, the flowers, the smell of pizza. This practice of noticing will spill over to your kids because if you are out and about with them you can invite them to notice these things also. Most of the time kids do notice the small things already but we are too busy to stop and notice it with them.

“What are you thankful for today?”

We started this tradition at our house to say what we are thankful for after evening prayers. It’s a great way to have your kids open up about what they saw during the day that really stood out to them. Sometimes it’s being thankful for a person that they mention. Younger kids need some help in this department since they don’t really know the word thankful yet and what it means. This is a great way to teach them. We also say what/who we want to pray for and throughout the days ahead remember that event or person and follow up on it. Be thankful for the outcome for them or the event either way it went.

Say “thank you” often

Notice if you say thanks to people or even your own kids for things. Do you say thanks and then scold the person behind their backs in front of your kids? Do you say thank you to your kids for doing a kind thing for you? Your kids have to hear you use it so they know when to use it. They have to hear you use it with them as well.

I think it’s easy to get caught up in saying the right thing with kids so much that we don’t even notice our own personalities. We can’t give our kids what we don’t have. In other words we can’t teach thankfulness if we don’t have it in ourselves. So cultivating that first within is important if you want to teach it. Kids learn best from example. They know when we are being fake. So start with the simple steps first.

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