I am super passionate about raising kids with grateful hearts.
Mostly because I know how easy it is to grumble and complain. If y’all are anything like me then you might agree that we are a generation struggling with distraction and discontentment. We are inundated with beautiful images on Pinterest and our souls are never satisfied. We read blogs and long for other people’s gifts/marriages/kids/lives. We have heads that are filled up with expectations and hearts that are heavy with guilt.
We are missing something.
We are missing gratitude.
And I have determined to figure this out because gratitude leads to contentment and contentment leads to joy and I want that for my kids more than anything.
Here are some of the ways I pray my kids are learning about gratitude in our home…
Say It For Them –
Any time my kids should be thanking me or my husband or someone else for something and they are not, I will simply remind them. If I have just served them pancakes and they take their plates without so much as a backward glance, I will say in a singsong voice, “Thank you, Mommy!” My kids know that this is their cue to repeat after me. If they don’t right away, I will keep saying, “Thank you, Mommy!” until they do (which is usually just 1-2 more times, but sometimes I have to tackle them down in a tickle fight until they surrender their gratitude). Likewise, when my kids are starting to get grumbly about leaving the playground, I will say, “Thank you, Mommy, for taking us to the park! That was so kind of you!” Or if someone starts to whine about what I have cooked for dinner, “Thank you, Mommy, for making this meal for us!” This usually quiets their complaints as their perspective is given a helping hand.
Sometimes we just have to PUT THE WORDS IN THEIR MOUTHS. Then, one magical day, those words will come back out all on their own (I have lived to see this – hallelujah!!).
Just Say No –
Don’t give your kids everything they want right when they want it. The End. 🙂
But seriously, we need to watch out for this. We are mamas. We like to give our kiddos good things. But often the good thing is to say no and endure the possible, *temporary* fallout (I’m looking at you tantrum in the toy aisle at Target) because ALL THE THINGS and instant gratification can muddy the waters of appreciation. Instead, have them wait for something, work for something, or be challenged to just be satisfied with the somethings that are right in front of them.
Acts of Appreciation –
Do nice things for people as a way to show your thanks. The boys and I love finding little ways to bless teachers, pastors, church leaders, neighbors, the grocery store cashier, WHOEVER. I have lots of ideas on this site to help you do this too – and (psssst!) I have an entire eBook about all of our favorite acts of kindness and simple ways to appreciate people HERE!
Biblical Inspiration –
We can’t rely on the old phrase, “Because I said so,” dear readers! Our children need to understand the biblical truth behind why we do what we do and say what we say, so teach them God’s heart on the matter of thanksgiving.
- We can be thankful that God’s love for us will never run out. Psalm 107:1
- We can give thanks for our salvation. Hebrews 12:28
- We can use gratitude to help us trust Jesus with our worries. Philippians 4:6
- We can give thanks in the good and the bad. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- We can use songs to give thanks. Psalm 95:2
- We can give thanks for our food because Jesus did. Matthew 15:36
- We can give thanks for what Jesus has done for us. Luke 17:11-19
- Write down thanksgiving themed verses and hang them up around your house (grab some FREE Printable ones HERE!).
Model, Model, Model –
This is IT, sweet readers! Most of what our kids will learn from us will be ‘caught’ rather than ‘taught’, so if we spend a large majority of the time complaining about chores, dishes, messes, our weight/looks, inconveniences, hard things, our homes, HOMEWORK, people, etc., we must remember that our children are listening.
Instead, get that precious heart of yours filled up with the grace and kindness of Christ. Let Him remind you of your many, many blessings – your salvation being the ultimate gift. Let Him remind you that He is in control. That He loves you and cares about every detail of your life. Our hearts will be transformed as we make Christ our ultimate satisfaction and we will not be able to keep the resulting gratitude to ourselves. This will translate into gracious encounters with others.
When the bagger at the grocery store has just carefully put everything in your cart and you thank him, those little ears will hear.
When your husband comes home from a busy day at work and you thank him for all that he does to provide for your family, those little ears will hear.
When your mother-in-love stops by with a Costco-sized package of toilet paper, after she leaves and you repeatedly say out loud what a blessing that was, those little ears will hear.
When you are on the phone with the doctor’s office and you speak kindly and thank them for their help at the end of the conversation, those little ears will hear.
When your children are all ready for school and waiting by the door without 14,000 reminders, you will joyfully thank them and they will hear.
When you rise each morning and greet your kids with a smile and commit to rejoicing in the day that the Lord has made, they will hear and see.
And it will make a difference.
How do YOU teach gratitude?
– Julie 🙂