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How to Encourage Your Little Ones to Show Gratitude

The holiday season is definitely upon us! With all of the commercials, toy advertisements mailed to the house, and all of the other reminders it's hard for the kiddos not to be excited about getting gifts. As moms, we are disappointed when our kids are ungrateful and often go into long lectures with them when they show their ungratefulness. It's important for us to remember to help them on their gratitude journey by showing them on a daily basis what it means to show gratitude - Saying thank you, sharing, giving to others, etc.

Get into the practice of asking your kids what they are grateful for 'today'. You will be surprised by what the kids will say. As I was writing this I asked my three kids what they were grateful for and this is how they responded:

  • The oldest (7-year-old): "I'm grateful for my family, education, food, Jesus, God, and electronics."

  • The middle (5-year-old): "I'm grateful for my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, and my family." She also proceeded to tell me what she was not grateful for. Lol! She is definitely the middle child.

  • The youngest (4-year-old): "I'm grateful for you taking me to school"

Incorporating small daily practices of gratitude helps but especially around the holiday season. Try the following gratitude activities during the children's holiday break:

  • Reading: "Gratitude is My Super Power" by Alicia Ortega shows kids how to appreciate the simple things in life. It also includes a gratitude journal for the kids. "Thanks a Million" by Nikki Grimes is a book of poems that offer different ways of giving thanks to a host of people in your life.

  • Activity Sheets: "Cool Mom Picks" has Thanksgiving color sheets where kids can write in what they are thankful for.

  • Send Handwritten Letters to Loved Ones: Have the kids select 3 or more people they would like to send a card to express why they are grateful for that individual. It can be as simple as saying, "thank you for being a great-grandmother" or "I am grateful to have you as my aunt." The kids will get excited about the project, especially going to the post office to mail them!

Whatever it is you decide to do with your kids, remember that the greatest teachers for kids are their parents. At times they may not seem like they are listening or paying attention but they are. Have a great Thanksgiving and remember to take some time for yourself, even if it is just 30 minutes.

What are some things you do as a family to show gratitude?

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou


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