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Instilling Thankfulness in Children

I'm a stay-at-home mom with a teacher's heart. I'm always looking for new, fun things to do with my kids that are educational and memorable.


Why Should I Give Thanks?

It’s that time of year again, when people begin thinking about everything they have to be thankful for. Although it’s nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving and in the month of November, being thankful throughout the year can have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.

It seems to me that having gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating a sense of thankfulness doesn’t cost any money, and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Especially when we pass along the sense of gratitude to our children. One way we have done this in our house is by saying what we are thankful for before dinner. My husband or I write down what everyone says in a notebook specifically created for this task and then we eat dinner together. It's almost in place of saying grace at dinner, and in a way, shares the same function as if we were saying grace.

In the pictures below, you'll each person's initials and what they're thankful for that particular day!

Our Thankful Book

Our Thankful Book

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.

— Oprah Winfrey

Kids Can Write What They're Thankful For Too!

One of my daughter's newest words is "yellow," which is why she was so proud to write it herself in our thankful book. My son had more to share and was able to write down what everyone was thankful for.

One of my daughter's newest words is "yellow," which is why she was so proud to write it herself in our thankful book. My son had more to share and was able to write down what everyone was thankful for.

There's Always Something To Be Thankful For

Being thankful is always a good idea, whether you're an adult or not. It helps give us an appreciation for the things we have and keeping that positive mindset will lead to a happier life.

One way that my family has decided to be thankful is by having what we call a Thankful book. It's a dated notebook that sits on our kitchen table and right before we have dinner, we go around the table and say what we're thankful for. It can be about anything from that particular day and as specific or general as you'd like. Often I'm thankful for our good weather, good health or successes of the kids, but it's been fun to hear our kids responses. Some days the kids are hangry and don't want to be thankful for anything, but we remind them that they can say anything from their day. Sometimes that means they'll say they're thankful for dinner, just to get to eat, but other times their responses have been surprising and unexpected.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Lisa Bean

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Lisa Bean (author) from Virginia on November 28, 2018:

That's such a wonderful thing to share. Sounds like you've raised a good man!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on November 28, 2018:

I have taught my child when he was a small kid to be thankful. He is a grown up man now and he told us once that he is thankful to have us as his parents. I got teary at that time. My hubby and I are very thankful to each other and to God that we have brought him up in the right path of life.

Michele Morin on November 09, 2018:

I really enjoyed Kristen Strong's Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. It's truly a behavior we have to teach!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 01, 2018:

I think this is a great idea. My children are all grown now, but it is a suggestion that I will pass along.

RTalloni on October 31, 2018:

A lovely look at how to encourage gratitude in children. They are blessed to have a mama smart enough to help them learn and grow in this area for they will be happier people for it.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 30, 2018:

Hello, Lisa, the most important thing I have learn in life, s to cultivate a thankful heart.

So every day,and throughout the year, I say thank you expecially to my God and creator of the universe. Thanks for sharing.

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