Years ago, as my eldest daughter Jayda and I rode home in the car, I asked her, “What are you grateful for?”. She was just three years old at the time, which showed as she innocently responded, “What’s grateful for?”
I had always taught her to practice good manners and give thanks in prayer, but up until that moment, I had never realized that I hadn’t introduced the idea of gratitude before.
So how do you teach gratitude?
The Gratitude Jar
When I decided to teach Jayda the ins and outs of what it means to be grateful, I started with what she knew best – talking. I wanted these lessons to be simple and fun, so I grabbed some strips of construction paper and wrote questions like:
- Who are you grateful for?
- How can we show others we are thankful?
- What dessert are you most thankful for?
- Why is it nice to show our gratitude?
And so on.
I then placed the strips in a mason jar and began a little game with Jayda, where we each reached in, grabbed a strip, and asked the other the question. Her responses were so adorable that after dinner time, before stories, and by her bedside lamp, I recorded her as she spoke.
Now, when I listen back to these recordings, my heart feels like it could burst! Seeing the ways in which she has grown and how grateful she has become makes me see that beginning this process at such an early age was entirely worth it!
There are many other ways we can teach our kids about gratitude, and I’ve listed a few below for you to try!
The idea of this is to hide small, hand-decorated stones around your home. Each time a stone is found, the finder must state one thing they are grateful for. I love this idea because not only does it teach gratitude, it allows the kids to get crafty! So grab some rocks, a few colored paints, and unleash your inner artist!
It’s just like regular bingo, but instead of numbers, the cards are full of the things we can be grateful for. There’s no age requirement for this, so it’s the perfect way to teach gratitude to both young kids of any age over the Thanksgiving weekend!
Click here to grab your free Gratitude Bingo Card!
Conversations Over Dinner
Teaching your kids about gratitude can be as simple as a pre-dinner conversation. Simply go around the dinner table and get each person to state one thing they are grateful for. Done regularly, this is a fantastic way to teach your kids to be thankful and practice some family time!