3 Ways To Teach Your Children To Be Grateful

As we embark on the holiday season, it’s important that we spend a little time fostering a spirit of gratitude within our children.  Teaching our kids to say “please” and “thank you” is essential, but imparting a sense of gratitude in them takes practice to become a way of life.  One of the things that I am always proud of is the comments I receive about my son’s manners, but gratitude goes beyond good manners.   


Of all the gifts, you can get your kids this Christmas, there’s one that will ensure a huge ROI (return on investment) in their lives.  According to research by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.”  Having an attitude of gratitude helps us to be happier, more positive people. 

Here are a few ways to help your kids make a real difference through gratitude, even if it’s small.  “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” is one of my favorite quotes by Aesop.  Extending kindness and gratitude will foster a sense of appreciation for people, experiences, and the things they will come to value in their own lives.

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1.       Practice Being A Grateful Parent

The values that we teach our children that stick, aren’t those we force them to adopt, but those we live out in front of them.  There are so many ways for us to model gratitude and be an example to our children.  We exemplify gratitude when we thank God through prayer for our food, when we thank and tip our waitress for service, or smile and thank the gentlemen holding the door as we enter in a building.  As parents, when we are seen being consistently grateful, they are motivated to do the same.

2.       Count Your Blessings

Be sure to make room daily for “an attitude of gratitude” family hour.  Perhaps it’s during dinner, or right before bed, you share a few things that you are thankful for each day.  This is especially important when your child has experienced a level of disappointment within the day, it can change their perspective and reinforce positivity.   We also want to ensure that we tell our children how much of a blessing they are to us.  Sharing our gratitude for them being in our lives, and how special they are to us can show them that gratitude extends beyond material things. 

3.       Write Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are pretty much a thing of the past, but it doesn’t have to be.  Encouraging your children to write thank you notes helps to communicate happiness, compassion, and even empathy.  The thank you note doesn’t have to be tied to a gift, it can be a note of appreciation.  The key is to help your kids learn to be authentic in their writing.  Perhaps they are writing notes to themselves about a friend, or a vacation, or fun time with grandparents that they can randomly read later.  This will further help them have an attitude of gratitude and an immediate sense of appreciation.

As parents, it can be easy to get frustrated when your children misbehave and/or don’t express gratitude for things they’ve received. When your child fails to say thank you, use that as an opportunity to discuss how they can do better next time. And there you have it, 3 ways to teach your children to be grateful.  Please share your ideas for teaching your children to have an attitude of gratitude.


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  1. Yes these are all great ideas and so important during the Holiday season, but most importantly it helps us the create positive and happy memories with our children. I love the writing a note (something I will start doing).

    1. Yes the note writing is a big deal in our house. I know how it makes me feel to get a hand written thank you note, I imagine it makes others feel good as well. And it is another way to teach our children to say thank you!

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