Encouraging Your Kids to be Thankful

Have you ever been around someone that seems ungrateful for everything? Unfortunately, there are many people, both adults and children, who simply aren’t thankful for what they have or receive. As a parent, our job includes instilling our children with values that will help them succeed in life. This includes teaching your children to be thankful. Easier said than done especially with the holidays coming up. The "what I want" lists just keeps getting longer and longer every year and no matter what the kids receive, are they truly thankful? It seems like they can never be happy. So how do you encourage your kids to be thankful? Well I have some tips to help you get started. It's not as difficult as it sounds.

Be Thankful Yourself

If you’re trying to teach your kids to be thankful, you might want to take a look in a mirror. You are your children’s hero, the person they try to be like. To help encourage your child to be thankful, you’ll need to be thankful yourself. Set an example for your kids so they can see what it looks like when you’re truly grateful for what you have.

Make Gifts Special

It can be hard to be thankful for what you have when gifts become meaningless. If your children gets a new toy each time you go to the store, even a cheap one, they will quickly develop a sense of entitlement. Encourage your children to be thankful by making gifts special again. New toys should be reserved for special occasions, like birthdays, holidays, and major milestones. If your children want something new in between these events, you can make it possible by allowing your kids to work for it, doing chores to help earn money to buy what they want. This will help your kids understand the value behind a gift, which in turn can help them be thankful when they do receive something.

Write Thank You Notes

You’ve probably already taught your kids to say please and thank you, but have you taught them to write thank you notes? Verbally thanking someone for the little things is a great way to show how grateful you are, but writing a thank you note is an even better way to instill a sense of thankfulness in your children. If you have young children, you can have your kids dictate to you what they’d like to write. Older children can write their own thank you notes with spelling help from you.

Give Thanks Around the Dinner Table

Giving thanks shouldn’t be reserved for Thanksgiving. Help your kids develop a sense of thankfulness by making it a habit to give thanks around the dinner table. This will help teach your children to vocalize what they’re thankful for, as well as give them an opportunity to listen to you give thanks for what’s in your life.

Give Back

Truly thankful people find a way to give back. You can encourage your kids to be thankful by giving them opportunities to volunteer. This could be at a local food bank, homeless shelter, or church. When your children see families lacking the basics they take for granted, they’ll be more thankful for what you’ve provided them.

When you encourage your kids to be thankful, you’re instilling them with a value they’ll carry throughout their lives.

What are some ways you teach your kids to be thankful?


  1. Great tips! This is so important for kids! I try to do all listed above consistently!

  2. We have always instilled in our girls that there are people that are worse off than us. Being thankful is about helping others.

  3. These are really great tips. Gratitude is so important.

  4. What a great list you have here. We should implement them all year round!

  5. Kids live what they learn
    I will try to encourage more of this.

  6. It is so important to start kids out young appreciating the things that they have. Great post. Amber N

  7. If only all parents made it a point to teach their kids to be thankful. I know I made my kids say thank you for every piece of candy they got for trick or treat & i rarely heard thank you's from other kids.

  8. I know some very ungrateful adults too, I think that they need to read this post. They're never happy with what they've got. Always want more.

  9. These are so awesome.. and I worry that Scarlet just expects big things all of the time, because she's gotten many. I want her to appreciate everything - the big and the little.
    And we're not good at thank you notes! Oops.

  10. Oh my! I have some people close to me that are just ungrateful and negative about everything. I think part of it - the majority of it - is how they were raised but I also know that it is a personality thing too as one of them wasn't raised to be ungrateful.

  11. My kids are very grateful children. I have always taught them that things/people/friends... they are all gifts. I have done all I can to make sure they understand that they aren't entitled and that they should be thankful for everything.

  12. I like writing notes and encouraging your children to share gratitude. Practicing manners never goes out of style! ;)