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.
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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!
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 about 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 every one back in the van and started driving, God convicted me about 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!
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.
For some extra teaching about showing gratitude, play this game with your kids:
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.
Plan something specific to do TODAY to help your kids show gratitude!