Four Ways to Raise Children Who are Truly Grateful

Four Ways to Raise Children Who are Truly Grateful

It happens quite by accident. No one means for it to happen. And yet it happens to the best of us.

We work hard to give our children the very best childhood possible, only to realize one day that our kids have developed a self-centered, entitled and ungrateful attitude.

Maybe it’s the Christmas list that’s three miles long, the tantrum at the grocery store, or the endless stream of demands… there’s no limit to the ways our kids can be self-centered, entitled and ungrateful.

Thankfully, however, there are also plenty of ways to raise children who are truly grateful. Here are four.


Related:  Three Habits of Families Who Raise Thankful Kids


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1. Insist On Good Manners


Having good manners isn’t just polite. It’s also a way to express gratitude and appreciation. Consider the difference between the demand “Give it now!” and the request “May I have it, please?” The first is entitled and self-centered; the second acknowledges the other person and the fact that the object requested isn’t just a given.

Children as young as one or two can learn please and thank you. Older children can write thank you notes. While these actions might not mean much to them at first, helping your children establish good manners at an early age will lay a strong foundation for gratitude down the road.


2. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to give your children good things, but the fact is that the more “stuff” kids have, the less grateful they tend to be. When kids get everything they ask for, they expect to get everything they ask for. Whether your child is asking for candy in the check-out line, new shoes at the mall or dessert before dinner, don’t be afraid to say no. Receiving gifts should be an exciting and special event, not an expectation.


Four Ways to Raise Children Who are Truly Grateful


3. Give Them Plenty of Opportunities to Serve


It’s hard to focus on all the things you don’t have when you are busy serving people who have far less than you. Rather than lecturing your children about gratitude, give them plenty of opportunities to serve others and let experience be the teacher. Insist that your children help around the house, and take them into the community to serve others as well.

(Not sure how your children can serve? Here’s a list of 9 Service Projects Even Preschoolers Can Do.)


4. Model a Life of Gratitude Yourself


The most important way you can raise grateful children, however, is to model gratitude yourself. Do you always remember to say please and thank you? Do you regularly show your family how much you appreciate them? Do you point out to your children the ways in which God has provided? Or are you constantly complaining and always buying more, more, more? Get in the habit of being truly thankful yourself, and your children are sure to follow suit.


Raising children who are truly grateful isn’t easy, but with these four tips, a little love and a lot of patience, it can be done!


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Are your children starting to get the holiday season “gimmes?” What do you do to teach your children to be grateful for what they have?




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  1. Hi Brittany. I just wanted to stop by to say Hi! You commented on my blog, Making Space yesterday so thought I’d come and check yours out. I love this article! A friend of mine made a comment a year or so back when my son was 1 about teaching kids to say please and thank you young, we decided to teach him it in sign language and it was amazing how quickly he picked it up. He’s been pretty good at doing it since so I definitely think there’s value in starting young. I love your comment about sharing with them what God has done as well, that’s a great tip. I’m definitely going to be more intentional in doing that. I’ll find you on Facebook and connect on there xx

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by! And that’s sweet. We didn’t try sign language, just waited til our son was old enough to speak (our littlest one could say thank you starting around 18 months, I think?) Look forward to seeing you on Facebook (and around here some more as well 😉 )

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