5 Simple Ways to Instill Being Grateful

25 Days of Thanks & Freebies

Today, many kids seem to have everything. So, how do you instill being grateful?

5 Simple Ways to Instill Being Grateful in Kids who have Everything

My husband and I married later in life after we had both achieved multiple degrees and established stable careers. By then, we were not only financially able but also rather anxious to start a family and raise a brood of kids!

But then we had to sort through infertility and deal with failed treatments, recurring disappointments and increasing age. It was a long season of waiting and wanting.

In the end, we were blessed with one child. One 10 lb 2 oz blue-eyed baby boy who, as every parent will tell you, was worth the wait.

And, from the moment he entered this world, that boy has basically wanted for nothing.

Despite out desires, he turned out to be an only child.

  • An only child of a university professor and a stay-at-home mom.
  • An only {not already grown} grandchild on either side.
  • An only nephew on one side.
  • An only student in our homeschool.
  • An only boy to cart around to soccer, baseball, robotics, book club, youth group, etc.
  • An only birthday boy. An only Christmas-gift wisher. An only restaurant chooser. An only iPad user.

I’m sure you get the point. With an only child, it truly is very difficult to NOT give him everything.

We have tried really hard not to spoil him but when there are few reasons to say “no” to legit needs and appropriate desires which you we can afford and have time for why say “no”?

Sure, we said “no” to poking the dog, ice cream for breakfast, running in the parking lot, staying up until midnight and a pony for Christmas.

But for requests and actions that would enhance his life in a positive way, why say “no”?

So, like I said, he has wanted for very little.

And, yet, he has always been an extremely grateful, thankful and appreciative boy. 

And now he is an extremely grateful, thankful and appreciative teenager.

I suspect most of this is simply due to the demeanor that God blessed him with. He’s just a sweet kid. But, I do like to think we had at least a little something to do with his gracious disposition, but I am sure it’s much more the former than the latter, ha ha.

In any case, we have purposely worked to instill gratitude in him. Below are the five simple things we have done to encourage gratefulness.

1 SENDING THANK YOU CARDS

being grateful with cards

This might seem like an old-fashioned idea, but I think it is not only a time-honored tradition that should continue, but it also has a lasting impact on both parties. From his first birthday forward, our son has sent a thank you card for every birthday and Christmas gift he has received.

When he was very little, I obviously wrote them myself but included a picture of our son enjoying the gift. Then we graduated to a fill-in-the-blank printable, which you can download for free here in the Customizable Thank You Card Collection, where some of it was done for him but he wrote part of it himself. Now, of course he does them all on his own.

It’s simply a part of the gift-receiving process in our home and I think has really helped foster a truly being grateful for the time, effort and money people put into his gifts.

2 GIVING of THEIR OWN TIME and MONEY

This can take on many forms, from tithing random coins as a toddler to donating half their birthday money to a charity to volunteering at a soup kitchen as a teenager to going on a mission trip as a college student…and everywhere in between. Our son volunteers at the local museum twice per week where his various duties have helped him see several new things in a new perspective.

He has come to realize that it takes a lot of time, money and effort to maintain a museum. He has also learned that many entities, including churches, museums, schools, hospitals, zoos and more rely on volunteers to be successful in their purpose. And, perhaps most importantly, he has learned that not all people have access to such resources and not to take his access for granted.

5 Simple Ways to Instill Being Grateful in Kids who have Everything

3 SHOWING THEM GRATITUDE

This one seems rather simple but might be hard for many to do. We need to learn to show our children gratitude.

My son has a long list of chores he is expected to do. He does not get paid for completing them, but I do thank him often. I sincerely appreciate that he empties the dishwasher. And I have loads of gratitude each time he unloads the 800 bags of groceries that I picked up at WalMart. But, I also thank him for being a sweet teenager and for making discerning choices. And I thank him for paying attention in his online class and for scoring well on his chemistry exam.

Yes, he should be doing each of those all the time. Yes, we have expectations that he do all of those things but, just like an occasional “Thanks for ironing my shirt this morning,” from my husband works wonders on my mood, I suspect the same is true for our son.

4 READING and MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE

Studying what the Bible has to say about gratitude is important for many reasons, not the least of which is to better identify WHAT to be grateful for. Our kids, whether blessed with a plethora of toys and fun opportunities, should learn to be grateful for health, family, safety, food, and, above all else, God’s unstoppable grace. But, just knowing it’s in the Bible is not as beneficial as being able to recite what the Bible says about gratitude.  

Scripture memorization can be key to a solid foundation in character development and can start at a very young age. This ABC Verse Memory Pack is great for many ages and teaches 26 Bible verses that all kids will find helpful to have tucked away in their hearts and minds. And the free pack found here will help facilitate the memorization of just a few gratitude-based verses found in the Bible.

5 PRAYER

This might be last on this list but should always be first to be instituted. Pray for your child to have a heart of gratitude. Pray that you will see opportunities to teach your child gratitude. Pray that you will be an example of how to have, show and share gratitude. And also teach your child to always start prayer with expressions of gratitude.

In prayer, as in all areas of life, we should first thank God for what He has given us before we ask for what we think we need or want.

Get your FREE Thankful Bible Verses Memorization Pack to help your kids in being grateful.

being grateful with Bible verses

You can get the Thankful Bible Verses Memorization Pack by leaving your name & email. We’ll zip it on over to your inbox & you can start encouraging your kids in being grateful.

A big thank you to Katie Wolfe of The WOLFe Pack for writing this guest post!

Katie Wolfe used to teach in the classroom but has been homeschooling her son for more than a decade. She owns The WOLFe Pack Den where homeschool moms can get quick and simple support through game reviews, educational resources and homeschooling suggestions. She also runs an exclusive FaceBook group for moms who homeschool only children, Lone WOLFe Homeschooling. Follow her on her Facebook Page and in Pinterest.



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