7 Natural Ways to Teach Family Gratitude

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It’s no secret that our current society is short on family gratitude. We’ve been trained to think we deserve everything and need it right now.

The result is a generation of kids who don’t know how to be grateful and always want more. Contentment is a forgotten character trait.

7 Natural Ways to Teach Family Gratitude

As homeschool moms, we have the unique opportunity to tailor our days to include the things our kids really need to know–whether it’s how to spell “definitely,” or how to be grateful for what they have.

How to Teach Family Gratitude to Kids

Teaching your kids at home is about so much more than helping them learn math and science. It’s also making sure they learn valuable life skills and godly character traits.

Gratitude is better caught than taught. Our kids need to see us practicing gratitude and making it a natural part of our daily routine.

While we tend to be hyper-focused on gratitude during the month of November, we can work to encourage thankfulness in our kids every day.

Use these 7 ideas to encourage gratitude in your homeschool this month, and whenever you feel contentment is lacking.

Talk about family gratitude.

Sometimes we think our kids will naturally understand gratitude. But most of us are not born with a natural inclination to thankfulness!

Start talking to your kids about what it means to be grateful. Sometimes we get a little “preachy” when we notice our kids being ungrateful. But that’s not the time to start teaching gratitude.

Start a conversation with your kids about why we’re thankful, and to whom we should give thanks–whether that’s God or other people. If you have morning time in your homeschool, it’s a great time to hold a conversation about gratitude.

Model gratitude to your kids.

Make a daily habit of gratitude that your kids can see. One great way to do this is during your morning prayers before you start your daily schoolwork. Don’t just pray that God will bless your day, but also thank Him for all He’s done for your family.

Encourage your kids by specifically thanking God for them. Take the opportunity to express gratitude for something nice they’ve done, a character trait they’ve been working on, or a specific prayer God answered for them.

Gratitude breeds gratitude, and as your kids see you express thankfulness, they’ll naturally start to be grateful, too.

Start a family gratitude journal.

Recording your gratitude is a powerful way to keep it at the forefront of your mind. Make a daily habit of writing down something you’re grateful for with your whole family.

A fun time to do this is after dinner or right before bed. Then, throughout the day, you can encourage your kids (and yourself) to look around for something to be thankful for.

The great thing about a family gratitude journal is that every member of your family from the smallest to the oldest can participate. Your lists might be as varied as being thankful for

  • mommy and daddy
  • pretty flours
  • my bed
  • my best friend
  • God’s love for me
  • money to pay our bills
  • food for our table

None of these things are deep or theological, but they are all beautiful gifts from God that we should all be thankful for.

7 Natural Ways to Teach Family Gratitude

Make “thank you” a large part of your vocabulary.

One of the great (and sometimes not-so-great!) parts of being a homeschool mom is that our kids are always with us. They go with us to pay the bills, visit the doctor and buy the groceries (or, do the pickup!).

Our kids see how we treat others and hear the words we say. They should hear us use the words “thank you” often. Whether it’s the person who puts the groceries in the trunk, hands the food over the counter, or gives a lollipop when we make the payment, we should show gratitude.

Not only do we want our kids to hear us use the words, but encourage them to say thanks, too. Sure, it takes some work, especially if you’re kids are shy.

But, if we give them a little push, eventually they’ll naturally start to say thank you on their own.

Volunteer as a family.

Taking time to volunteer as a family is an important part of teaching gratitude to your kids. Volunteering to help those less fortunate, and explaining why we do it can help to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in our hearts.

The holiday season is a prime time to volunteer together. Your family may be able to:

  • sponsor a child for Christmas
  • help provide a meal for homeless people at Thanksgiving
  • pack a shoebox for Samaritan’s Purse
  • donate to a local food pantry

Whatever you choose, it’s important that you let your kids take part. Go shopping together, deliver boxes of food or toys to the shelter or let them choose the child you’ll sponsor.

Talk about why you’re volunteering and help them understand the blessings God has given your family.

Make thank-you cards together.

Writing thank-you letters is a long-lost art, but no less valuable. A thank-you card doesn’t need to be long or flowery. Just a simple card with a note inside is special to the recipient.

There are so many ways to get creative with thank-you cards. Dedicate some of your art time in your homeschool to crafting thank-you cards to send to family and friends who have been an influence on your lives.

Homemade thank-you cards are wonderful to give and receive. An imperfect drawing from a child is often worth more than the fanciest of store-bought cards when it is given from a truly grateful heart.

Participate in a gratitude challenge.

Sometimes kids (and adults) aren’t sure where to start when it comes to being grateful. In this case, you need a little guidance! A printable gratitude challenge is a great way to help you know where to get started.

You can use a 30 days of gratitude challenge in so many different ways in your homeschool, all with the same goal of naturally encouraging gratitude in our kids. Here are a few ideas to use the prompts:

  • in the morning while you’re talking about gratitude
  • as a jumping-off point for your family gratitude journal
  • ideas for people who deserve your gratitude
  • as conversation starters at mealtimes

All ages are able to take a part in this challenge. Whether it’s written or verbal, using gratitude prompts gives everyone a chance to dig deep and find plenty of reasons to be thankful.

The Best Way to Teach Gratitude to Kids

All of these ideas are amazing ways to naturally incorporate gratitude into your homeschool. But the most important thing that our kids need is to see their mama live with an attitude of gratitude.

Develop the trait of contentment in your own heart. As adults, we still tend to get whiny when things don’t go our way. (Yes, I know I’m guilty!) And our kids see that.

The best thing we can do to encourage our kids to live gratefully is to let them see us have gratitude and be thankful. It will have a far more lasting impression on them than anything we can teach.

You can get the Family Gratitude Journal by leaving your name & email. We’ll zip it on over to your inbox.

Lyndsie is a Christian, wife, and stay-at-home mom to two boys whose names both start with J–and she usually can’t remember which is which. Her main job is taking care of her husband and two J’s, keeping a cabinet stocked with Oreos, and clearing a walking path through the Lego. (She’s rarely successful at that last one.)

When she’s not trying to control the chaos, you’ll find her writing entertaining and encouraging bits on the internet at Not Just a Stay-at-Home Mom.

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