5 Easy Ways To Teach Your Children Gratitude

November 2013

As a mother, I am very conscious of my duty to my children. I am responsible for the care of not only my children's bodies and minds but also their souls. This is why I am constantly striving to instill in my children those guiding principles and virtues that I know are foundational to true happiness. Now you may say, "There are so many principles and virtues out there that are important. Where do I start?"

I am glad you asked. I totally agree with Cicero when he said that,"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."

Yes I definitely believe Gratitude is the parent of ALL other virtues. So now the question becomes, "How do I teach my children to be Grateful; especially when they are young?"

It has been long shown that the best way to teach is by example. This means that in order to teach our children the value of gratitude we must SHOW them. Here are 5 ways we can teach our children the value of gratitude:

-Through prayer.

Do your children see/hear you pray? And in those prayers do you make sure to sincerely give thanks for all God has blessed you with? As a Christian, I believe that all that I have, all that I will ever have, all that I am, and all that I ever will be is thanks to a Loving God. If you are in the habit of giving thanks in your prayers, your children will know it, and often follow suit. 

-Keep a gratitude journal.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do your children see you write in it, and do you ever read to them past entries? There are two kinds of gratitude journals. One type is where each day you write one thing you are grateful for. This is especially fun during the month of November. The other type of gratitude journal is where each day you record how the lord blessed you that day. Both of these journals when available for your children to read can become powerful teaching tools. 

-Express thanks verbally.

Do your children see you take the time to thank people when they do anything thankworthy? Children who grow up with parents, who are quick to recognize the good in others, often follow the same pattern in their interactions.  Gratitude like kindness is infectious. So let’s cheerfully infect the world. 

-Write thank you notes.

Do your children see you write regular thank you notes? Now to be honest this is something that I at times struggle with. It is so easy to send quick thanks in text or email to a friend, or even do so in a status update. However, it is just not the same as taking the time to write and mail a personal note of thanks. I think it is the effort that makes it so much more special to the receiver. 

-Take care of what you have.

Do your children see you care for what you have? We teach our children that we value something when we carefully take care of it.  Maybe they say that Gratitude makes what you have enough because when we take care of what we have it stays nicer longer.

There are many ways we can teach our children gratitude, but the lessons that stick the most are the lessons seen and not just heard. Let us teach our children to be happy and grateful by being so ourselves. If you aren’t there yet, it is never too late to start working on it. 


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