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How to Raise Grateful Kids

Do you want to raise thankful kids — ones that habitually express gratitude? What about thankful kids who turn into truly grateful adults? Silly question right? Of course you do (and so do I!).

There are dozens of ideas out there on how to raise grateful kids (I’ve seen several such book titles). And a good thing that is — because thankless, entitled, self-focused generations are on the rise.

I’m hoping the many books indicate intentional parents are on the rise too. Perhaps if more parents are noticing the problem and addressing the issue, we will begin to see kids, teens, and young adults, look beyond themselves long enough to regularly expresses gratitude where gratitude is due. That would be a good thing!

Well, today I have one more idea to add to your “raising grateful kids” repertoire.

The Method

If you want to teach your kids to be grateful you can obviously tell them to say “thank you,” and you can encourage them when they do so on their own. You can teach lessons about gratitude, and make sure they know to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In fact, you can remind them to be thankful all day long (all of which are great things to do!)! But I don’t think any of those methods compare to one specific way to teach gratitude — and that is, by being truly thankful people ourselves. 

I don’t mean deep in your heart you need to be thankful (although you should be). I mean, your inner gratitude should constantly come out verbally.

When the clerk at the grocery store rings you up, say “thank you.” When your husband does a household chore, tell him how much you appreciate it. When a child does something helpful, tell them “thank you so much for your help!” When dropping your kids off at Sunday School tell the teacher “thanks for serving,” tell your waitress “thank you” when she pours you water, even express gratitude when someone helps you on the phone. 

And most importantly, your kids should hear you thank God for his daily goodness and kindness over and over and over again.

You get the idea; you should be a generous giver of gratitude.

And when you constantly express gratitude, your kids will hear it. They are watching, and they are learning. Your example shows them that entitled consumeristic living is not the only way.

If you want your kids to be grateful, make sure you are a generous giver of gratitude. Click To Tweet

Effectiveness Already Proven

Nothing we do will force our kids to be truly thankful. All we can do is teach it and set the example; they will have to choose gratitude on their own. 

But it’s no secret your kids already copy you. Sometimes how they copy you is encouraging (like when they’re sweet and nurturing to a baby), sometimes it’s funny (like when they use big adult words as a toddler), and sometimes it’s entirely disheartening (like when they speak in your typical impatient tone).

Needless to say, what you say, and how you say it, almost always rubs off on your kids. 

And what a great thing to rub on them – gratitude!

May they hear your thankfulness so much that they can’t help but express gratitude to their teachers, to their siblings, to their friends, and most importantly, to God…everywhere they go, it should be natural to express appreciation because they want to be just like their mama who says thank you all day long!


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