Cultivating Gratitude with Children

Cultivating Gratitude with Children

Heidi Hansen   •   November 9, 2016

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." –Aesop

Cultivating gratitude as a way of life with children can often seem like a futile task. The trajectory of development from being fundamentally self-centered and entitled to a deep awareness of one's utter dependence on God's provision and abundant blessing is a lifelong experience. Some days go better than others for children and adults alike, but our hearts can be tuned to a frequency of thankfulness when we practice it. 

Here are a few ways to encourage gratitude in children and as a family. 

1. model gratitude in your daily life and language 

2. acknowledge longing and yearning for things ("It is so hard to wait isn't it? It can feel so frustrating to not have everything you want, or even need sometimes"). 

3. acknowledge and articulate the joy of receiving 

4. daily, or weekly, ask one another what you are grateful for 

5. play the Gratitude Fairy game (each person has sticky notes to anonymously post around the home with notes or pictures of things they are thankful for) 

6. keep a gratitude journal 

7. have a "thanks only" prayer time 

8. do an act of kindness or generosity for others (donate toys, clothes, bake cookies for neighbors, give to charity) 

9. talk about the ways God gives and sustains life 

10. use your super new gratitude jar you made at church and add "I'm grateful for.." cards to it each day, then read them back at the end of the month.