3 Ways Kids Learn Gratitude!

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3 Ways to Help Create

Here we are very close to a holiday that reminds us how blessed we are.  There is a lot of blessing counting going on, but counting blessings and having a grateful heart is not really about a time of year…is it?

Today in Children’s Church we made “Blessing Cups”.  Each day from now till Thanksgiving everyone in their family is to put something they are thankful for in the “Blessing Cup”, and on Thanksgiving Day a family member will read them.  There are many different variations of this idea on Pinterest, but this was quick and simple.

To Christians, gratefulness is the outflow of a full heart for uncountable blessings God sends into our lives.

Gratefulness brings a contentment to our soul, even in the worst of circumstances.  …There is ALWAYS SOMETHING to be grateful for.

The Bible talks abundantly about thanksgiving and praise.  Here’s my favorite:

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.”  Psalm 107:1

Most all of us have children in our lives…I do…and it is important we begin to teach them that thankfulness is more than just a blessing, it is a lifestyle of the heart!

3 Keys to Teaching Kids to Have a Thankful Heart: 

1.  Model Everyday Thankfulness

The old saying, “Children Live What They Learn” is so true.  The foundation you lay in your child’s life at an early age goes into the deepest core of their soul life.

Make Gratitude an everyday happening.  When children see gratitude in our lives, even the smallest child begins to pick up on the actions you model.  Teaching the attitude of gratitude to your children could start with something as important yet as simple as…

  • Learning to say “thank you” often.
  • Teaching them all things come from God…they are gifts.
  • Simple “thank you” prayers for more than food.
  • Take turns naming things God has given us. Maybe they have never thought about our breath or sight as a daily gift from God.
  • Children need to hear you talk of God’s goodness and what God’s Word tells us about being thankful.

Learning at an early age to have a “thankful heart” will begin to mold them into thankful adults.

2.  Hands-On Opportunities For Gratefulness

Talking about our blessings and how grateful we are is the first step, but putting it into action is even more memorable. It is so important to also teach them about giving back and the joy in helping others.

  • Look for times that are natural moments to let gratitude shine. Kids love hands-on activities.
  • If someone gave a gift to your child, have them make a thank you card and send it to them.
  • Gather the family and take a picture and let the kids decorate a “thank You” frame and send it to someone who is special in your life.
  • Talk about how grateful we are to be healthy and have the kids bake some cookies and bring them to someone who is sick.
  • Talk about how blessed your family is and share with them about children who don’t have as much. Help them go through their toys and give some away.  Let them be involved in sorting the toys, and even the delivery if possible.

Children that learn to give, grow up to be giving adults.

3.  Living Out Gratefulness as a Family

  • Live with a content heart.
  • Recognize our blessings with a heart of praise.
  • Model a lifestyle of thanksgiving, gratefulness, and giving back.

This is a great season to get started right and to be intentional. Everyday give your children opportunities to express thankfulness!  Celebrate God’s blessings with a thankful heart and help them learn to count blessings all year, taking all of it in…breathing and exhaling gratitude as we walk through the good, the not-so-good, the ugly, and the unbelievably wonderful!




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Leave a comment | 8 Comments


  1. Mary Geisen says:

    Perfect ideas and practical ideas to instill thankfulness in the hearts of all around you. I have grown children but I believe that my example never ends and when they let life overwhelm them, they can forget the lessons of thankfulness they learned when they were younger. Blessed to be sharing the space at Holly’s today. Blessings!

    • Thanks Mary for stopping in. Your right…when they grow older they can forget. Counting blessings and being intentional with our gratefulness seems to help us notice more. The more thankful we are the more thankful others around us will be. I have loved counting blessings with Ann Voskamps 1,000 gifts.

  2. Hello Cathy, I’m visiting you from Testimony Tuesday! (I’m with Compel and also a She Speaks Graduate, like you!) These are great ideas for teaching kids about gratitude. I think modeling it is the most important thing. I’ve been convicted the last few days that I want to be more grateful.

    • Betsy, I enjoyed visiting your blog and loved the new post. What a story of encouragement! I know you are one proud Mom! Thanks for joining Life Bubbling Over on Facebook!

  3. These are such great ideas and reminders. Sometimes, it seems, kids are so much better at gratitude that we are as adults. They seem to naturally notice small and lovely things. When do we lose that? And how do we get it back? This post is a great start. Thank you for linking at Unforced Rhythms.

  4. I like your thought to teach children to send a thank you note after receiving a gift. Gratitude is learned by teaching and by a good example. Thanks for sharing at Tell me a Story.



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