Bloomfield Blog

5 Ways to Teach Thankfulness in Kids

Posted by Mrs. Nicole Ihrie on Nov 27, 2019 8:37:47 PM

We spend hours preparing for the Thanksgiving meal with grocery shopping, readying the house for guests and of course the cooking! In the midst of our business, we can lose sight of the goal for the day and become overwhelmed in the details for planning and preparation.

Our children feel the pressure of the hustle and bustle during this time. How can we help them develop a grateful attitude in today's culture of bigger and better? Our children will need reminders and training on how to be thankful especially in difficult situations. As we approach the holidays, here are some ways we can cultivate a thankful heart in our children. 

Child baking1. Include them in the holiday preparations.

Children love to feel like they have contributed. There are many of us that want everything just so, but showing your kids that you trust them, they are competent, and they are an important contributor to the family is far more valuable than a flawless table. 

2. Have children earn rewards.

When we have worked hard for something, we naturally come to appreciate it more. Delayed gratification nurtures your child's ability for self-control and patience in addition to thankfulness. Children (and adults) benefit from waiting and learning to appreciate the earned privilege. The time spent with that special toy or earned screen time will be more cherished and valued when it cost them something. 

3. Model a gracious attitude.

Family prayingOur children learn by watching us. When we are gracious with our words and time, they see how that blesses others. When we are wronged, we can take the time to explain why we can forgive as we have been forgiven. Involve them in ministry activities such as taking meals to those in need or visiting elderly neighbors. We can be thankful in our prayers over meals or the end of the day for even the little things that may go otherwise unnoticed such as clean water, warm houses, and clean clothes. Explain that there are people around the world and towns close to them where this is not a guaranteed benefit. This will open their eyes to those around them who do not have as much as they do. 

4. Teach them to give lavishly.

Owen sharing with RaynaExplain how Christ has lavished his grace and love on us through the sacrificial giving of His life and obedience. Because of this, we can be lavish givers to those in need around us. When purchasing and gathering items from around your house to donate to charitable causes, select items of high quality and good repair. This demonstrates that we are all created in God's image and none of us deserves more or less based upon our circumstances, zip code, or the family we are born into.  Children can then be thankful that the Lord was so richly extravagant with them and spur them on to do likewise.

5. Tell them no and stick to it.

It seems loving to give our children all their wants and desires but in God's economy, the opposite of our natural inclinations is often the godly way. Children will come to appreciate their privileges when they have a clear understanding of what they are and are not entitled to. If children are allowed to nag, whine or complain their way to obtaining their desired outcome, a sense of entitlement develops where the lines between privilege and rights become blurred. 

We are called as Christians to be thankful in all things and in all circumstances. It can be a challenge to teach this to our young ones but with intentionality and diligence, they too can grow in their thankfulness. 

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Topics: parenting