How to Raise a Grateful Child: Top 9 Tips

Unfortunately, children do not automatically grow up to be grateful children. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they were thankful and looked for ways to help others? Raising a grateful child takes hard work and intention, so be sure to check out my top tips. Learn how to raise a grateful child and teach them to appreciate what they have, tips for raising grateful kids, and some helpful gratitude activities for kids. I’m sure we can all improve in the gratitude department.

Raising a Grateful Child

I’m guessing you’re with me in that you want your children to be grateful. I mean, mine complain a-plenty about so many different things! First, it’s that one sibling is spending more time with another sibling than her. Next, it’s that he took out the trash last time and it’s not his turn.

 Now, obviously just wanting your child to be more grateful doesn’t just make it happen. You need to put in the work for the development of gratitude in your child. You need to make gratefulness important in your life so it will transfer to the lives of your children.

There are many benefits of practicing gratitude in your life, and you will want those benefits for your children as well. Most importantly, God wants us to be grateful for the many blessings He has given us. In fact, there are many reminders in the Bible about being thankful.

How to Raise a Grateful Child

If you are looking for ways to raise grateful kids in an entitled world, look no further. How do you teach your kids to appreciate what they have? It seems like they’re always wanting more, but isn’t that how our society is? How we often are? It’s no wonder our children grow up to be ungrateful!

It’s time to break the cycle of ungratefulness and discontent. Raising a grateful child isn’t going to happen automatically. As with most areas of parenting, you will need to put in the effort. However, I have some amazing tips for helping you get started!

How to Raise a Grateful Child pinnable image of children giving and helping others.

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1. Stop complaining

Yup. Just stop. When you’re negative and critical or discontented, your children are going to follow suit. As the saying goes, more is caught than taught. You will need to model gratitude for them to be grateful. I’m still working on this, too!

2. Teach basic manners

Basic manners go a long way in helping your child express gratitude and just be polite. Please and thank you are certainly a great place to start. Also, teach your children to send thank you cards or pictures to those who give them gifts or do something special for them. Teach them to notice and be appreciative when they are shown kindness.

3. Talk about it

There are many things to talk about when dealing with gratitude and contentment. If you want to raise a grateful child, you need to discuss that many people in this world are less fortunate. You could show them pictures of homes in poor countries and then sponsor a child from that area. Compassion International is a great organization that helps these children while teaching them about Jesus. Point out to your child that all his/her needs are met and to be thankful for that.

Another thing to talk about is the many people who help in a community. The many men and women who have service jobs are people to be thankful for since they make our lives so much easier. Some of them even put their lives on the line for our safety.

Talk about the different blessings God has given you and your child. Ask them what they are thankful for. Tell them what you are grateful for as well. We truly are blessed.

4. Re-frame negative thoughts

As you notice negative thoughts that your child turns into words, help them learn to turn those around to something more positive. Help them see that the negative is often not even true, or that there is some positive things in a situation. Help them see that even if it seems all negative, they can learn a valuable lesson from the situation. Point out the truths of what God says versus what your child is thinking.

What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.

5. Get involved

A great way to raise a grateful child is to get involved in some kind of community or charity work. Serving others as a family will help your children see the needs of others. It will take the focus off of self and onto those who can use some help. Serving in a local food pantry or playing games and visiting nursing home residents are great ways to give in the community.

6. Find ways to thank others

Looking for those who have served you and doing something to thank them is the perfect way to focus on others instead of yourself. Yes, you can do the traditional thank you card, but think outside the box as well. Your children could draw pictures or bake a treat to give as a thank you. Find ways you can thank community workers, teachers, neighbors, and family members.

7. Delay gratification

We live in a world of instant gratification in so many areas. We have Amazon Prime, high-speed internet, and microwaves. However, learning to wait for what you want has it’s benefits. Let your child work to earn the toy or experience he wants. Have your daughter find creative ways to earn and save her money for her newest craft endeavor. By working hard and waiting, your children will learn to appreciate that thing so much more. Nor will they be spoiled by having everything handed to them.

8. Daily gratitude

Daily gratitude activities of some kind will help re-frame your child’s thinking into something more positive. Check out the list below for some great ideas of daily gratitude practices you can try such as a gratitude journal or just naming something each day that you are thankful for. This daily practice could happen at a meal, bedtime, or during prayer. Just make sure it happens.

9. Point out generous actions

Do you have a generous relative or friend? Point that out to your child. Point out the generous actions of others whenever you can. Also, when you catch your child sharing or doing something kind for someone else, be sure to praise their generosity and kindness. Praising them is a great way to encourage that action again.

Gratitude Activities for Kids

We’ve already touched on some great activities that lead to gratitude and thankfulness. Things such as volunteering and thanking those who serve are some such activities. Let’s discuss some other gratitude activities for kids. You really do have to make a conscious effort to teach your child the power of gratitude.

Gratitude jar

Make a gratitude jar. This is super simple. Have a container or jar to hold slips of paper. Each day, have everyone write at least one thing they’re thankful for. You can read these weekly or just pull a few out when a child is having a tough time being positive. Something like this gratitude activity will help your child learn to look on the bright side of things.

Appreciate others

At the dinner table, go around the table and have everyone say something they appreciate about another family member. Be sure to mix it up so each person is included. This is something even young kids can participate in.

Roses and Thorns

For Roses and Thorns, go around the table and have each person say at least one good thing about their day that they are thankful for (the rose). They can also share one tough thing (the thorn). By having your children do something like this on a daily basis, you will help them see the silver linings in even the toughest of days. 

Do something kind

Have each child pick a kind thing to do for someone else each week. Make sure they follow through. Looking for ways to be kind to others is a great way to foster gratitude.

Gratitude conversation starters

Keep some gratitude conversation starters on the table to discuss each day. Not only does this encourage gratitude in your children, but will also be great to get that conversation flowing.

Gratitude book

Read a book about gratitude. Not only will this help your children think about being thankful, but it will also give them ideas as to how this looks in action. Do you have any favorite books on gratitude or thanksgiving?

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals are not just for adults. Have your child start a gratitude journal like The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids. This is a great gratitude activity for kids to help them build a sense of gratitude, even at a young age.

Thank you note

Writing a thank-you note or drawing a picture of something they have received is a great way for your child to show gratitude. Besides, this also teaches them the common decency of sending thank you notes to those who have done something nice for them or given them a gift.

Have them help

Have your child help you with something they are complaining about. This could help them appreciate the work that goes into it. For example, if they complain about dinner, have them help you the next few times.

Give to others

Find ways to give to others. Incorporate random acts of kindness into your day. Try printing out this random acts of kindness calendar to get you started.

Random acts of kindness calendar printable with ideas and matching pictures

Importance of Gratitude

Gratitude really is important in a lot of ways. With regular practice for both you and your children, you will be well on your way to having a thankful child. Gratitude can really take away that sense of entitlement along with helping your child express appreciation for all that is good. 

I’d love to know some ways you teach gratitude to your children. Please comment below. Also, is gratitude something you struggle with? I pray that you are encouraged to be a good role model to your children in this area. What is your biggest takeaway? Before you leave, be sure to check out what else I have here.

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  • Aimee Niblack

    As a mom for 18 years and a mom coach for 2 years, Aimee shares her expertise with young Christian moms via her blog and coaching business.

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About Author

As a mom for 18 years and a mom coach for 2 years, Aimee shares her expertise with young Christian moms via her blog and coaching business.

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