10 Ways to Teach your Kids to be Grateful

How can we teach our children to be grateful? While parents should encourage their kids to live with gratitude all year-round, the Thanksgiving holiday is a perfect time to start modeling and teaching an attitude of true thankfulness.

It's the season of giving thanks, and we're sharing this list of 10 simple ways to teach kids about gratitude...

1. Express Gratitude Daily
Ask your kids to name one thing they’re grateful for every day. Starting this habit helps kids remember what is good in their lives, and that we are grateful for even the smallest of things.

2 Model Gratitude
Be a grateful parent. Kids learn from observing. There’s no better way to demonstrate gratitude than for you to show how much you are thankful in life.

3.​ Spend time Volunteering
Give back to the community. Acts of kindness and service towards others are great ways to instill gratitude in kids. Consider participating in a local park clean-up, donate canned goods to a food bank, or give away unused clothes and toys. There many ways you can volunteer right from your own home.

4.​ Teach Kids to Say Thank You
Teach your kids to say “please” and “thank you.” There’s no substitute for good manners. Regularly using these words gets little ones to remember to be grateful while demonstrating respect to others.

5.​ Teach Them to Work for Things They Want
Teach your child to “work” for a reward. The next time your child wants an hour of screen time, how about telling them to complete a household chore before getting the reward. Receiving a reward after work always makes the treat feel more well-deserved and appreciated.

6. Send Notes of Gratitude
Don’t reserve your “thank you” notes just for birthday gifts and holiday cards. Teach your kids the importance of gratitude by having them write a note or draw a picture for a special person. This could be a grandparent, a neighbour, teacher or community member.

7. Integrate Gratitude with Holidays
Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that are all about gratitude. It's important to teach kids the meaning of the holiday and how they can be grateful for it. Remembrance Day is also a teaching opportunity for kids to be grateful towards service members.

8. Turn Holiday Gifting into an Opportunity to Give Back
With the holidays fast approaching and kids making their wish lists of toys, try making a new kind of list. Have your kiddos write down a few gift ideas they’d like to give to others. Rather than focusing simply on the getting, kids can learn about giving. Plan on donating to toy drives this upcoming season.

9. ​ Find the Silver Lining During Tough Times
Look for the positive in even the most difficult situations. It’s easy to focus on the negative, especially during our current health crisis. Helping kids focus on the positive (even if it’s a small positive) will go a long way in helping them feel grateful in life, even during the worst of times.

10. Expose them to Reality
Talk to your kids about those who are less fortunate. Don’t frighten them, but don’t keep them in the dark either. Understanding that not everyone has the same advantages will help your children develop compassion for others and gratitude for their own privileges.

Gratitude goes both ways so make sure to say “thank you” to your kids when occasions arise. As parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to show appreciation to our little ones. When they do something kind or follow directions, remember to say “thank you.” It may seem like a small gesture, but they will know you’re grateful.

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