5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Thankfulness

October 24, 2018Autumn

We shouldn’t focus on being thankful only when Thanksgiving comes around. There’s a lot more to understand what it means to be thankful and teaching gratitude to my kids is something I’ve felt is especially important. Having gratitude and having thankfulness as an adult I’ve found to be key in being successful and just having a general good well being in life.

As I plan to leave grateful children on this world, I’ve fostered way to instill this in my kids from a very early age. These 5 ways to teach your kids thankfulness are what I’ve found works best for us.

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5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Thankfulness

Model & Teach 

We are our children’s first teachers so in many ways we should aim to exemplify those meaningful lessons ourselves. It’s just as the term goes “practice what you preach”, I like to express gratitude through words, writings and smalls gifts or acts. When my kids see me being thankful and having an appreciation for the things in my life, in an essence, I am leading by example ways in which they should also lead.

But it’s even more than just modeling, explain to them what it means to be thankful. You should highlight for them when they experience moments where they should be thankful. Express that having gratitude will show and build character and it’s a valued skill that we should all have.

Teaching Kids Thankfulness


I am a natural writer so it comes easy for us to reflect through our writing. A simple way to get your kids to begin writing about their thankfulness is to have them write small notes or drawings of thankfulness to family members. This is also great to incorporate during the holidays when members of the family you don’t see often are around.

Have your child write special notes to family members about why they may be thankful for them or what makes them special. In this activity, you are teaching your child a lesson, fostering creativity, while also making them think and express gratitude and kindness to others.

Try a gratitude journal for the kids and have them simply state things, acts, people or strengths they are thankful for.

Encourage their Strengths 

All children have their own strengths and it’s our jobs as parents to encourage them. Let your kids know you are proud of them and you are thankful for them. Teach them to celebrate their strengths openly and use them to help others if they can. This opens up opportunities for your kids to do what they love while also showing gratitude towards others.

Teach them Teamwork 

In our house, we are a team. While it’s absolutely important for the mental well being of everyone to have independence and time alone we also encourage working together. When your children work together with a sibling or family member they are not only learning the benefits of teamwork but also generosity.

Helping others and being generous are two key factors for making thankful kids. When children lend a hand, especially while using their strengths, they feel more connected to those they’re helping, which helps them to develop and nurture friendships and social relationships.

Teaching Kid Thankfulness

Make it fun

These life lessons of fostering generosity, gratitude and thankfulness shouldn’t feel like another mundane lesson. Most children (including mine) will respond better when you make it fun. During the holidays we like to make a thankful tree and let the kids highlight things, people and places they are thankful for.

Another way to make it fun for us is to shop for new toys for shelters, this is an actionable task for the kids with things they can see and touch that will uplift and help another kid. There are plenty of organizations that help children all year round and not just during the holidays. The act of making donations to others can leave your kids feeling excited to be giving to others without you being a sole dictator.

When children can see, feel and experience where their generosity is going it makes the lesson that much sweeter.

Free Thankfulness Printable

Use this activity to write notes of thankfulness with your kids this fall season or all year long. You can print it on card stock and use it to build a tree of thankfulness or to fill up a thankful jar.










In what way are you teaching your kids to be thankful this year? Sign up for our email newsletter for regular updated, tips and advice.

Teaching Kids Thankfulness and Gratitude #thankfulness #gratitude #thanksgivingforkids #kidsholidays #spoiledkids #thankfulkids #parentingtips #parentingadvice #gratefulkids

Teaching Kids Thankfulness and Gratitude #thankfulness #gratitude #thanksgivingforkids #kidsholidays #spoiledkids #thankfulkids #parentingtips #parentingadvice #gratefulkids
Teaching Kids Thankfulness and Gratitude #thankfulness #gratitude #thanksgivingforkids #kidsholidays #spoiledkids #thankfulkids #parentingtips #parentingadvice #gratefulkids

Comments (7)

  • Shannon

    October 25, 2018 at 8:15 PM

    Great tips on teaching kids about being thanksful all the time. The thankful tree is a great idea to make it fun for them!

  • Sonja

    October 25, 2018 at 9:21 PM

    What an important skill to model and teach my children. Gratitude turns small moments into cherished ones. I appreciate the ideas, especially the adorable printable. Thank YOU!

  • Sherry

    October 25, 2018 at 9:23 PM

    Great post! We do our best to follow the tips you have listed here. One other thing we do that has worked well is write out 3 things they appreciate about their sibling(s) after having calmed down from having a disagreement or fight. When things are back on track, they eventually read out what they wrote about their sibling. It always ends in a big hug!

  • kisha

    October 26, 2018 at 2:07 PM

    It’s so funny that one of the things you talk about is modeling thankfulness. I’ve been keeping a thankfulness journal and I tell you it has really changed my life. I don’t think I ever really took the time to see just how much I have to be grateful until I started writing it down, but now, I believe it helps me parent from a better place.

  • Daphne

    October 29, 2018 at 12:41 AM

    The model and teach is the best way to me. We have to show our children and be positive role models for them.

  • Felicia Tucker

    January 4, 2019 at 12:44 AM

    This post is so timely. I was just discussing with my husband ways that we can instill thankfulness and gratitude into our five year old little boy.

    1. Autumn

      January 10, 2019 at 7:47 PM

      It’s so important that we teach this to our kids!

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