Our 30 Days of Thanksgiving Ideas is concluding this week with how to teach kids to be grateful as we prepare for Christmas. Being grateful is not just for November and Thanksgiving. An attitude of gratitude should be year-round, especially during Advent, as we prepare our hearts for Christmas. If you missed any of our previous three posts, I’ve listed them at the bottom of this one.
3 Steps on How to Teach Kids to Be Grateful
Please read all the way through because I think Step 3 is the best and most clever way to teach our kids to be grateful.
1. Start with Your Heart
Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21
This goes back to prayer and modeling. You should begin your prayers with thanksgiving so your kids can see where your heart is. When you tell God you are thankful, your heart can follow suit.
2. Focus on What you Have (not what you want)
Especially true during Advent & Christmas. Help your kids focus on what they have, instead of what they may want for Christmas.
Unfortunately, this has been a problem since the beginning of time. Adam & Eve were guilty of focusing on what they did not have. Adam & Eve saw the forbidden tree and wanted it.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate. Genesis 3:6
Help your children take their eyes off the toys & games they don’t have and focus on what God has given them. One way you can focus on what you have is to keep a things to be grateful list. Each member of your family can keep their own list or you can make a family list of thanks. Either way, this is an opportunity to to thank God specifically for what He has given you.
If you haven’t started your thankful list, do it today. Grab our free printable right here. Start with 5 things for which you give thanks. Add 1 item to your list every day. Today I’m adding our extended family & the support they have shown me these past few months.
I love this idea that I heard several years ago. When your kids are complaining, ask them to stop and find something to be thankful.
Can’t you see it?
Your kids are in the middle of an argument. You walk in. Ask them to stop. Ask them to name one thing they are thankful for. This can completely change the course of your kids’ conversation. If only adults would do this, as well.
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
Cicero sums it up here. Being thankful is the above all virtues. You must be thankful to show any other virtue. You must be thankful as you prepare your heart for Christmas. As you prepare to celebrate Christ coming to earth to save you from your sins. Now, that is the ultimate aspect of being thankful.