As a parent, you care deeply about helping your kids become good, hard-working people who value kindness and generosity above all else.
You probably have after-school conversations with your littles about their day, checking in to find signs that kindness is occurring. However, it’s sometimes hard to create intentional moments where we help our kids put the characteristics of a good human being into practice.
One of these characteristics is, of course, gratitude.
Thank you to all the parents in the world who remind their kids to say “thank you” multiple times a day. It’s in these small moments that we collectively create a world full of grateful people. And that’s just a nice place to be.
However, while reminding your kids to be grateful is fantastic, it’s only one step toward truly teaching gratitude. We have some ideas that will help your kids understand the importance of gratitude and put it in action.
Put Gratitude In Storytime
Reading with your kids creates the perfect opportunity to teach them important lessons in a fun, engaging way. It’s possibly the only time of day you have a captive audience, so you might as well make the most of it!
There are so many wonderful children’s books that focus on the importance of being grateful. We’ve read many, but took notes on some of our favorites.
The Gratitude Jar is about a girl named Mina who felt sorry for herself. She always seemed to notice the good things that others had, but she didn't. One day, her family decided to make a gratitude jar, and things began to change. Soon the family discovers the power of gratitude and appreciation for life's simple things.
I Am Grateful guides family members, parents, and children on a continued journey to happiness and gratitude.
Good Morning World, I Love You So: A Little Book of Gratitude builds a lifelong habit of gratitude and self-care for kids.From sunshine to an extra big spoon, there are so many things in the world to be thankful for!
Start a Gratitude Journal
It’s never too early to start a gratitude journal–even if you’re helping your littles fill it out. This gratitude practice starts the day on an optimistic note. In the evening, it allows you to reflect on the good and feel content. Studies show people who are intentional about practicing gratitude are generally happier. Instilling gratitude early can help your kids into their teenage years and adulthood as they face their own challenges.
We love The Happy Me Journal that offers a version for every age–from 3 to 100!
The youth editions are full of lively illustrations, smart conversation starters, and opportunities to write down positive things that are happening in your life every day.
A Huggable Gratitude Reminder
Understanding gratitude is tough for little ones. Your littles may say “thank you” because mom reminds them constantly, but truly appreciating the phrase won’t come until later.
Ease your toddler or preschooler into what it means to be grateful with a soft stuffy and sweet-as-honey board book.
The Honey Bear Kin from Slumberkins inspires children to step out into the world and explore all the beautiful things it has to offer. This stuffed animal and book combo helps children learn to cultivate gratitude and bring awareness to the everyday things they can be grateful for. The Honey Bee Mini is another cute addition to Slumberkins’ gratitude collection.
Donate Unused Toys
If toys and books are starting to–or have already–taken over your closets, shelves, hallways, and living areas, this is for you.
Establish a rule in your house that every time a new toy comes through the doors, another toy has to leave. That toy can be donated to a friend, cousin, or charitable group. The holidays are the perfect time to begin this tradition with plenty of non-profits seeking donations and plenty of new toys headed toward your house.
Let your kids lead the way and point out the toys that don’t get as much love as they used to. They will begin to understand the joy of giving as they physically hand the toys to their new owners.
Show Gratitude Within the Family
Example is the best teacher. Tell your kids how grateful you are for them often. At the dinner table. On a walk. During carpool. On a special date. Don’t leave the details out either. Tell them why you’re grateful.
Do this repeatedly, and your kids will follow your lead.
The abundance of joy you’ll experience doing one, or all, of these gratitude practices with your kids has the power to transform your family’s life and your kids’ perspectives of the world. The small, everyday habits end up making the biggest difference.