You may read that title and wonder, “Thankful kids. Do those exist?”  It’s funny, it seems that some kids are more bent toward being thankful and showing it, and others have to be trained and trained hard!  We decided to ask our moms to share funny stories and/or tips about their kids and thankfulness…and maybe you can relate.  Maybe you’ll feel better about your own kiddos, and have a ray of hope for the ones less grateful!

Mom of Three, ages 9 and under:

Prayer time in the evening is when we work on thankfulness.  Mostly, prayer time for the kids is asking for things and praying for others.  But we then ask, “What are you thankful for?”

Dinner time is a great time for being grateful, because we ask them how their day was, and what they are thankful for.  It’s fun to hear their answers.

Party time is when we verbally remind them to give thanks to the giver.  We remind them, but as they’ve gotten older they have now begun to do this on their own. 

Living it out, when they see us give thanks, when we remind them to notice little things, and when it’s part of our family lifestyle is important to us.

At Thanksgiving, our extended family is around the table, and this is a time when we give thanks for those with us, stating specific things we love about each one.

Cleaning out toys, our kids want to sell stuff to make money, but…we ask them to share or give away…as a way of being grateful for what they have.

The Lord’s Prayer is something we are teaching our kids and hoping to do more of in 2021, and it begins with praise.

Mostly, parenting thanksgiving is the best. My husband reminds them to thank me for dinner.  I remind them to thank Dad for what he does.  So we try to be thankful in our own house, for the gifts we’ve been given in each other…even with their siblings.  This is more of a challenge, because it’s easy to take each other for granted. 


Mom of Two, ages 4 and 2:

When kids are young like my two little girls, it has to start with their dad and I being an example.  Even for the smallest of things, because these are “big” to them.   For example, getting a new lollipop, or trying on a new pair of shoes, or getting to sit in the front seat while we go down the road to feed the cows.  These are the experiences that our little ones have.

Thankfulness in our house looks like being thankful for these small things.  We make sure that we constantly thank God for our food. We also thank God at night – and we ask our girls,

“What are you thankful for, today?”

One of our daughters answered, “I’m thankful for my backpack.”

We also give thanks in the middle of arguments.  It’s a teaching moment when there’s a fight over a baby doll.  I recently told the girls how we need to be thankful that we have multiple baby dolls, so we don’t need to fight over one!  Just showing them the toys they have, or the extra clothes we have to give away, gives me a chance to teach gratitude.

Sometimes, I do wonder if they are getting this concept of thanks, like all parents do!  Recently, I was taking a nap with Sadie, our four-year old.  Earlier we had gotten groceries, and I bought the girls both new water bottles.  Sadie looked at me as we were about to doze off, and said, “Mommy, thank you so much for my new water bottle.” 

Moments like those tell me yes! They’re getting it.  It also teaches me, when my little girl gives thanks for a simple water bottle.  It reminds me to see those simple things, too!

Mom of Four, ages 10 and under:

It seems all of our kids are different.  Our oldest had a friend over one time, a friend that was in need, and our daughter started giving away any and all of her clothes – even ones we hadn’t decided to get rid of.  We also, as a family, put money in an envelope to set aside for giving.  So, I think generosity is born out of thanksgiving.  When we realize that we have more than enough of anything, we are thankful, and that causes us to want to share.

I also think that our kids observe and hear their mom/dad give thanks, so they learn to follow suit.  Even before our meals, we give thanks for our food.  It’s simple and perhaps a ritual, but it reminds us all to stop and recognize where good gifts originate!  At night, during family prayer time, we add in thanksgiving for everyday things.  One particular thing we gave thanks for was a birthday party for my daughter and all of the friends that she has.

I remember one of our four had a long season of ungratefulness, so it seemed fitting to remove some of her most treasured toys and put them away for a bit.  It didn’t take too long (but it did take a while!) for her to realize what a blessing her toys were, and how she needed to remember to be thankful.

And finally, I often tell my kids when they’re being ungrateful, and share how it’s hurtful to give nice things to them, only to see them turn up their nose at the food I’ve prepared, or the gifts they’re opening.  I think honesty goes a long way.  They need to realize the effects of ungratefulness, as they mature into grateful adults! 

Thankful Kids
by Marcy Lytle

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